DarkChat - Reviewing the Edinburgh Fringe since 2008

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John Hegley

Morning Wordship

Review by a 9 Year Old



Morning Wordship is a show about John Hegleys poems, songs and adventures and used him and collaged or projected

versions of him and other people as characters in the show.


There was 3 songs which he played on Steve the Mandolin, poems and collages. Our favourite poem was the octopus

poem and our favourite person was John Hegley (obviously because he was the only one in it). The best part was the

songs that he made up. He also made us do some things like guessing, actions, speaking and singing.


This was a good show and I would recommend it to anyone who likes songs, poems or joining in.





Review by a 'Grown Up'


Darkchat David and Anne have been watching John Hegley's shows at the Fringe Festival since the 1980's.  We are familiar with his poems and songs about his family and the Luton bungalow. We know of his fondness for dogs, potatoes and spectacles.   We have joined in choruses, danced on stage (only when requested) and laughed very much over the years.  When we heard that mini-Darkchat Harri has developed an interest in poetry, this seemed a perfect opportunity to introduce him to one of our favourite poets and performers.


Children's shows often have a bracingly early start (by Fringe Festival standards) and this is no exception.  It is strange to be at the Pleasance when it is so quiet.  The show is billed as suitable for 6+ and this is reflected in the audience and the show's content.  John Hegley ambles onto the stage and, perhaps because it is so early, somehow takes us all by surprise.  He explains that he will come on again and we can clap and "pretend this never happened".  


Once returned he explains that he will read us two of his stories, the first is 'Stanley's Stick', beautifully illustrated by Neal Layton and the second is a story featuring the poet's family.  The latter is more of a work in progress with John Hegley's own quirky illustrations.  There are plenty of opportunities to join in which keeps the young audience engaged.  


Hegley is the master of audience control and explains at the start that when we want to join in, we put up our hands.  The children are happy to comply.  There is only one very small audience member who doesn't heed this rule and, as her mother is about to take her outside, John Hegley produces a small blackboard and chalk so that she can do some drawing ("more chalking, less talking" as the poet put it most succinctly) and peace is restored.


This show is a charming children's entertainment full of quiet reflection, clever wordplay and gentle humour.  With hindsight, 'John Hegley:  New and Selected' at Assembly George Square which is billed as "for adults but of interest to some nine year olds." may have been a better choice for the Junior Darkchatters who perhaps would have preferred more poems, however, this gives us an opportunity to share some of our favourite poems and songs with them, starting perhaps with 'Eddie Don't Like Furniture'.




John Hegley Morning Wordship is at Pleasance Courtyard until August 19th (Thurs-Sun only)


Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) 10.30