7.30 pm Thursday 26th March 2020
Review Pete Golding

Last Thursday was a truly momentous occasion for WonderZoo when, in response to the world pandemic, WonderZoo took to live broadcasting on Thursday @ 7.30pm 26th March on ZOOM. And it went swimmingly well for a first broadcast. For this we have to thank Nic Crosby for guiding us through the set-up, along with the ever-reliable HiP.P as well as PETE DAVEY, Chi Bennett and Gabi Marcellus-Temple for choosing the various artistes, publicising and promoting the event and ensuring its success and popularity.

Tim King began our broadcast with five poems covering a broad range of themes and emotions from the optimistic [ his Space Exists Nowhere] to the pessimistic [Donald Trump] from the distressing [What You Did For Me] to finishing on an up note [Stop!] Excellent start. Thank you, Tim

GRUNGE DAVEY finished the first half by reading three heart-felt elegies Misery and You Say It's Alright and Say It Was A Dream. These raw pieces gnaw at our sensibilities and reflecting genuine torment and distress but shaped into art for our appreciation and erudition.

At eight o clock the continuity man proposed we break in order to applaud health workers, care workers, nurses, paramedics and doctors amongst others, for their outstanding efforts to contain, to treat and to tend to the victims of this terrible affliction. You have all my admiration.

GRUNGE DAVEY re-started the show by delivering a final poem addressed, I believe, to SALLY BRIAR-TAYLOR [a former creative consultant for us at WonderZoo and present tonight to witness proceedings - lovely to see her again!] This piece was altogether more salutatory and wistful. Deep.

Next to perform on camera was published writer, author, poet and columnist WILLIAM TELFORD who found time to mention his latest publication How Love Works {available for a mere £7 online} In order to give us a flavor, he read out one of his compositions entitled Eugenia, a doll that gives meaning to life. William's stories are wide-ranging narrations that blend the real and the surreal, the innocent and the knowing but always with a playful twist. He concluded with Absent Friends over the Top which summoned up some auld acquaintances that should never be forgot. Terrific!

HARULA LADD read out five poems which varied in content and form covering a range of diverse themes from narcissism [Note To Self] crisis [Safety Briefing] as well as eccentrical poetic experiments such as 'I Tried Driving A Rubbish Truck Into My Head.' However my person favorite was HARULA's call for us to unite so that we can move forward together onward upward and outward. How very salient in these trying times. Thank you HARULA for your savvy contribution to our endeavour

We were most fortunate to have MERRIS LONGSTAFF, a nurse with the NHS as well as a gifted writer, contribute to our evening of prose and poetry. Like so many of us, MERRIS is self-isolating but found time to read four powerful poems to us this evening. She read Her Story and Black Woman, a New Age and the First Time In History, all of which challenged racial bigotry, sometimes comically, sometimes ironically, sometimes just head-on. Wonderful writing. Wonderful writer doing a wonderful job. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

GABI MARCELLUS-TEMPLE read out her adaption of Albert Camus's The Plague which she updated, transferring the novel's location from the North African town of Oran to right here in Plymouth. However the threat to the town was not rats, as in Camus's novel, but the Covid 19. This transposition worked phenomenally well as fear abounds and threats gather as we brace ourselves for the oncoming onslaught. GABI magnificently admonished us to listen out for the echoes of the past and how cataclysmically it could all end, if Camus is anything to go, by for so many innocent, people. What a hellacious idea! A unique and formidable contribution to our evening.

Since one of guests, Adam Skerrett, was unable to join us, CHI BENNETT kindly read out one of his poems in his absence . Called The Coming Of Spring announcing a change of season to an effete world, meteorologically or socially, literally or allegorically, change is inevitable, imminent and alarming. How pointed in these uncertain times. CHI BENNETT continued by reading out one of her own outstanding compositions recalling the mayhem of Christmas shopping in Aldi in Plymouth. Doesn't that seem like a very long time ago now? Nevertheless a grim recollection of things past, in these dark days. Well done, Chi.

JACKIE JUNO was, to my mind, the most comfortable of all our writers in front of the camera and I believe her unique contribution might be released separately [as, indeed, it should] She read out, acted out and recited seven magnificent pieces which ranged from a paean to Gaia, the glories of Glastonbury, a rhapsody to bluebells, a celebration of balou and [believe it or not] a playful piece on death, to conclude. However, my absolute favorite was Thomas, a blind bi-sexual goose from New Zealand. You have to see this or at least listen to the podcast. Congratulations JACKIE you crowned our evening with your wit, wisdom, humor and insights.

The evening announced a new chapter for WonderZoo which shows its ability to adapt survive and thrive even in these weird and unprecedented times we are living through. I would like to thank all the writers for their invaluable contributions in making it a success and all the viewers that tuned in to witness this broadcast. If you couldn't make it, maybe you would like to watch a recording of it online or as a podcast or perhaps you might like to join us when we attempt our next broadcast. Wherever you are, you will be made most welcome. The more the merrier. In the meantime best wishes to our readers and writers. Stay in, stay away and stay safe, one and all. Look forward to seeing you soon.

Our next Zoom show will be April 30th 7.30 PM join us that night details  and event page to follow soon........