High Stakes and Sportswear at Poetercize! the Poetry Game Show

Words: LP Mills
Photos: Jeiran Ganiyeva
Monday 24 April 2017
reading time: min, words

Scores were settled and mischief was made at Rough Trade this Saint George's Day, but which of our contestants won the championship title in this zany gameshow? We sent LP Mills to the hottest sporting event in Nottingham to find out. 


There’s nothing quite like Saint George’s Day. The city centre becomes a sea of red and white flags, the word “Eng-er-land” is on everybody’s lips, and nobody minds admitting that they had a pint of stout for breakfast.

This Saint George’s Day, however, was a bit different. Whilst the people of Nottingham shambled about from pub to pub, a fierce rivalry was put to the test in one of the tensest, most gruelling sporting events of the year. I’m talking, of course, about Poetercize! The Poetry Game Show.

For those unfamiliar with the event, Poetercize is a travelling poetry competition hosted by rapper and wordsmith Stephen Thomas and featuring a series of tasks modelled after zany 90s game-shows like Crystal Maze and Knightmare. The show was hosted at Rough Trade and was part of a plethora of poetry-themed shows and workshops that made up the Book Off event, taking place throughout the afternoon.

Despite a few technical wobbles at the start, the show kicked off as the two teams went head-to-head in a battle of wordy wits, all under the watchful eye of scorekeeper Hector Lester George. Team two, made up of Joshua Judson and LeftLion’s own Bridie Squires, nabbed an early lead in a game that saw them guessing words picked out by audience members.

Round two, featuring a guest appearance from poetry guru and resident enigma That Welsh Woman, had both teams searching for objects that embodied a specific emotion. It was here that team one, made up of Chris McLoughlin and a late entry from Milla “the Rhyme Killa” Tebbs, showed their determination to win by eating a piece of discarded orange peel to signify “desperation”. It wasn’t until the third round that team one managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a round that involved interpretive dance and lyrics from Justin Bieber’s hit song Baby. 

A lively and exciting show packed to the brim with lyrical weirdness and special guest appearances, Poetercize proved to be a spandex-clad spectacular. Unfortunately shortened by technical issues, the event still highlighted the best features of both improv daftness and slam poetry competition, with a healthy sprinkling of Takeshi’s Castle thrown in there for good measure.

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