The Bard Of Bungay returns to Diss

The Bard of Bungay has become a regular fixture at the Corn Hall over the years, with his much loved Poetry fixture bringing the very best in stand-up poetry to Diss. We’ve also seen his trio of brilliant story-telling shows, charting the turbulent political landscape of this country. His latest show treads a path somewhere between the two, with an evening of his poems presented in a more formally theatrical style.

Regular attendees to the poetry club will have recognised some of these poems, first road-tested in a more intimate setting. Jumping in with both feet, we got the startling imagery of Drawbridge and Monster, and along the way we got his paean to Pretension, as well as yet another stab at univocal poetry with Pretender ticking off the letter ‘e’. Otherwise, Wright was in an introspective mood, emerging from lockdown armed with poems that seem to reflect a sanguine, but sad, acceptance of time moving on. His affection for his Dad’s clocks rubbed shoulders with the pleasure gained from his son reading, while his meditation of his failed marriage in Wedding Ring was heart breaking. There was fun too, though, with the whimsical Judge Crush and the poetry equivalent of his greatest hit – the Essex Lion.

A quick nod is in order at the excellently curated intro and break music. I ticked off songs from Magazine, The Cure and The Fall that must have come out when he was in nappies, so someone has done a fine job with his musical education.  Otherwise, the staging of this new show was striking – ably assisted by the curiously named Pancake – with mood lighting, intriguing back projection and accompanying music that leavening what might otherwise have been a little too much to take. And finally, it should be said, that Wright is always good company – his chit chat between the poems is just as entertaining as the work itself.