..”and the skies are all empty cause all the stars are on the ground” from ‘Get By’ by Dizzee Rascal
Certainly Debris Stevenson was on the ground….
.. and on point… polished she delivered line after line. Like the time when she tells the audience “how to respond to poetry and grime isn’t so obvious to everyone”.
She spits words like houdini, while dressed in camouflage and a hoodie., that kinda of look you get me..
She sets the stage and tells you her story, “in case you don’t know Royal Court this what grime is” Then starting with her story. … da girl liked poetry teaching it to the young and needy. But then she is interrupted off stage by her friend Vyper (Jammz) who wants to set the record straight before it’s too late and we learn along da way my girl Debris aint straight. Her mother played by the hip-popping and locking brilliant Cassie Clare wants to save her before it’s too late so she says words like God…. and there is a lot of talk about fate and God and fate..
This semi-autobiographical tale is about a girl who tells us “at university I studied Byron and Shakespeare. I was trying to analyse their rhythm schemes and flow patterns”
So it flows… from age 10 to 16 there is a lot of Grime history our girl Debris spits her words with fluidity, with Poet in da corner, an awakening ignited by Debris getting a copy of Dizzee Rascal’s groundbreaking album Boy in da Corner .. it only took 57 minutes and 21 seconds for her life begin to change, the album made her stronger… a young girl growing up somewhere in London, maybe Essex or East london, dyslexic.
We have to warn yer there are naughty bits, Debris is not Slim Shady but him as a lady…
The set is simple (no pun intended) not set to make a ripple; its a large tower block, to make audiences take stock we don’t all live in Sloane Square and put velvet ribbons in our hair and can afford to go to da theatre (but that is theatre with an “F” to quote another great performer Arinze who talks urban “jungles” too in Misty).. it is all real. If the Tower block is not there then there is the DJ turntable. The performers are four, there is Kirubel Belay who we have not mentioned before delivering on point and fantastic choreography by Aaron Stills .
And still …Clare switching roles on you, first she is da mother, and da DJ then she’s da girl that Debris locks hips with you get me., but Debris aint easy this is her first experience… and she is not that experienced….
Directed by Ola Ince you have to give a standing ovation, cause Debris and her crew bought da house down. There was laughter with moments like, yeah, that Debris and her mother were gonna maybe tear each others hair as her mother wanted her to find her way otherwise she will be confided to a room where her homophobic cat, yes cat would crap… outside her door because she was going da wrong way. And we all know that is crap, ain’t no cat homophobic like dat!!
So what else? ..she was bullied at school, some girls are not cool like that..or that. Much love to the Royal Court who are described as the “writers theatre” and you can see why when you watch Poet in da Corner. This is an ode to grime as the tracks pump out to establish a place in time for the Poet’s account of her journey, the play ends with the gifted Jammz taking the mic. Image credit Debris Stevenson
Poet in Da Corner is part of 14:18 Now one of three works that make up Represent. Represent is inspired by the centenary of votes for women. https://www.1418now.org.uk/commissions/represent/
Poet in da Corner
Written by Debris Stevenson, Directed by Ola Ince, Design by Jacob Hughes Lighting design by Max Narula
Where: Royal Court, Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
Friday 21 September 2018- Saturday 6 October 2018 BOOK HERE