Review by Pete Golding 

ANTONIA began our wondrous evening with several satirical pieces including a savage satire on being called a FEMINAZI or L.S. LOWRY or ITVBe [or reality ITV]
ANTONIA proves that feminism does not have to be passive or inert but tough, assertive and this had us on the edge of our seats. Strong stuff for a wintry evening at CAWFEE on UNION STREET in late November 2019.The whole event is available, for your pleasure, as a podcast, so why not listen to it online. Better still, why not join us on for our next celebration of writing, poetry, prose, music or song next December 19th Thursday Our Xmas Show.

SARAH CHAPMAN read out only one poem entitled APRIL about the agony of childbirth. “I an an animal” We share your pain SARAH but somehow you made it engaging to listen to, if no fun at all to experience.

GABI MARCELLUS-TEMPLE read out a short story exploring the current recession we are experiencing and the impoverishment endured by so many, as money, wages and benefits get squeezed and down-sized. So many people edging on pecuniary and deprivation and slipping into debt or despondency. Such negligence. Such callousness.Such havoc authored by GABI MARCELLUS-TEMPLE => searing!

GRUNGE DAVEY recited only one poem, dedicated to his Mum and “the day she slipped away.” Deeply moving. Very sad, and elegiac. Gulp.

TOMMY RAY ISAAC is a young student from the Red School for Creative Arts. He courageously stepped up to the mike to read out four of his own compositions including [a] ALONE [b] RON [c] CHRISTMAS and [D] I AM A GHOST. As a writer, he rhymes. As a poet, he charms. As a performer, he disarms and packs a punch. What more can one ask of a prodigious talent? Everyone is welcome at WonderZoo, young or old, and I do hope that we get to see more of TOMMY RAY ISAAC in the future, as his talent blossoms, grows and takes off.
He is always welcome at WonderZoo, as are you, should you wish to join us Folks….

MICHELLE DUNNING read four poems to us. It is rare if not unique for a writer to be both a feminist and to have some sympathy for the complexities of masculinity in this day and age but MICHELLE is. She began by railing against the notion that women's clothes were an invitation for solicitation and ended by empathizing with males who are ordered not to cry. Truly someone who sees beyond themselves and into the heart of gender discord. That is truly & really magnanimous.

CHI + PETE DAVEY AKA GRUNGE + JAZZ-ANNE THORN presented us with an interesting troika. JAZZ-ANNE THORN played a tongue-drum while CHI and PETE read each other's poems. A tongue-drum is subtle, dreamy evocative instrument which contrasted with their poems of love and hate, loneliness and warmth which CHI and PETE read to each other and to us. It felt intimate and personal and at times intrusive but, why am I telling you all this, when you can listen for yourself on the podcast VERY MOVING

Only three weeks to a General Election when some bright spark decided that we should have our own alternative election. Only two candidates, outré PETE DAVEY and the outré ALAN BUTLER. Both delivered their zany manifestos which made promises that none of us found credible or deliverable but, that's not satire, that's British politics. Voting papers were passed round and tallied up, with DR. BUTLER winning by a whisker, seventeen votes to seven.
Unbeknown to the gullible, I wish to add, it was clear to me the count had more than a little Putin. AKA Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin IN FAVOUR of DR. BUTLER say no more……

ROBERT GARNHAM is the self-professed “professor of whimsy” He is flamboyant and exuberant as well as an accomplished writer and an extraordinary performer. He grabbed our attention by reciting twelve poems [each entitled poem incidentally] but each had a distinct subject matter ranging from pubs to beards, from badgers to jelly fish, from drinking tea to the sinking of the Titanic. Utterly unprecedented. A worthy headliner and spectacular artiste for this extraordinary evening and again very funny.

RAY'S VIBRATIONS is an astonishingly consummate performer, writer, entertainer and innovator. He didn't need to read his writing, he performed it, in costume, in a piece called TIME STEPS. We were presented with a vaudeville performance in full garb reminiscing about fellow contemporaneous performers & tap-dancers and the devastating effect of the war had on his fellow artistes. For once, the podcast does not do it justice.

BAZ & Nabaz Muhedin delivered a bitter satire on immigration and racism in Britain. BAZ read out his own potent composition while his friend accompanied him by plucking on a subtly melodious harp mandolin. To be honest I'm not quite sure of the name of the instrument he was playing but BAZ let his friend complete the set by playing an instrumental unaccompanied. Utterly other worldly!

MATT THOMAS shared a few of his signature 'found' poems from antiquated technology such as a washing machine manual. Very different. Rather weird. Seemingly alluding to something otherly. Tonight he added his own thoughts on food stuffs, truth, waves, Trump and Helen's new coat. What an awesome author we have here! Indeed, a treasure.

What can be said regarding the remarkable MICHAEL DAX that I haven't said already? Unique? Original? Inimitable? Irrepressible? Part-poet. Part-bard. Part-songsmith. Inimitable! And fun to boot. Tonight, he recited five new compositions including a satire on Boris Johnson & other leaders, a rhapsody to Cornwall, risqué Hayle Girls and as well as Getting Down To London and an appreciation of Les Miserables. Such scope. Such hope. As Howard Dietz might have said, should he have been here tonight: DAX's entertainment.

Before I conclude I'd like to thank PETE DAVEY for all his efforts in arranging & publicizing this wonderful WonderZoo event as well as the galvanising efforts of GABI MARCELLUS TEMPLE,CHIORI BENNETT, HELEN MOORE, CAWFEE Last but not least, I must mention our very own HIPPY for doing such a wonderful job in recording AND SOUND and making a podcast of this wondrous WonderZoo event.
Listen to it and I guarantee you won't be disappointed. Thank you one. Thank you all.