WonderZoo Gig Review: Thursday 25th June. ‘Hysteria’. Written by Chi Bennett.
(1114 words: Reading time 4mins)

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Greetings everyone,

Our recent online gig was a mindgasm of lush emotional tapestries, with words that soothed and stirred, and storytelling that stroked the imagination, like a giant cosmic hand massaging one's hippocampus.

I’m sure all who attended would agree that it was great to see each other. It was the most normal I’ve felt for a while. What a stunning contrast it was to the cold, banal reality of isolation and social distancing. It was great to feel like we were all in the same place, somehow, in our virtual reality space-bubble.

I needed art and I was delivered art of the highest order. I would like to applaud everyone who participated, and those who simply observed. You all made it what it was. The audience was warm, friendly, engaging and there was a great chemistry and rapport happening between everyone. It was just out of this world, and I’m happy that I was able to facilitate such a wonderful soul-sharing sesh.

It was a privilege to witness such POWER in one place. They are magnificent artists, every single one of them.

Thank you so much! I love you,
Chi xxx

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TARA ZAKSAITE

Gorgeous poetry of nature, seasons, relationships and uncertainty. Her voice has the warmth of a friend.
She is a bright, shiny soul who conjures pristine images of beauty with her carefully crafted journeys that take us into other worlds. Her songs are like golden nuggets of wisdom and nostalgia.
She sings, “The world is already so hurtful and dark, we should cling to each other so we don’t fall apart”. “Give me your essence to calm the dread”. And asks the important question, “When do we know that we know?”
Thank you Tara for calming my dread by sharing your essence with me. You gave us a beautiful experience with your poetry and songs.
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TAMORA DHANIPERSAD

Words of power, words of passion, sensuality, abstract imagery and dreamlike realms are present in Tamora Sita Dhanipersad's gloriously honest and evocative work.
She knows deep pain and she takes us to those places in her mind, which causes self-reflection upon our own pain, our shared pain. Tamora dares to look at the dark places within, and shares her experiences, which is what we all desperately need – to know the truth of another person’s world.
Her work is raw, powerful, real, generous and courageous, always giving the reader a banquet of food for thought. She is an experienced and published writer, with a background in psychology, anthropology and education, specialising in inclusion and diversity, but new to the Plymouth poetry scene.
I hope we see lots more of you, Tam. You seem like someone with a lot of really valuable things to say, and I hope you keep writing and performing because you were magnificent.
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JONATHAN SPURLING and SARAH ADAMS

Wow, what beautiful souls. Poetry from Sarah Adams was full of love and friendship, with words like, “Let yourself love yourself”. So deep and comforting.
I really enjoyed your singing and guitar playing, Jonathan. It sounded lovely with Sarah on the drum.
They shared a lovely original song and moving cover of Joni Mitchell’s song, ‘Woodstock’. Great words that I think we all need to hear, “We are stardust, we are golden, and we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”.
Thank you for your poem ‘Tiny Invader’, Sarah. I loved the words you wrote about the lockdown, how it has locked us away and brought us together.
It was really wonderful to see you both, Thank you.
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RAVEN ROSE – ‘Feminist Killjoy’ Raven Rose - Punk Poetry

A strong and magnificent thinker with a powerful voice. Their delivery is excellent and grips my attention every time.
Thank you Raven Rose for always putting your heart and soul into your performances. You’re so good to watch! Your words always make such a big impact and more people need to hear what you have to say. You encapsulate perfectly what many people think and feel.
It was wonderful to see you and you added much coolness and humour to the gathering with your one-of-a-kind mind.
I loved all your poems. ‘Our Silence’ speaks of tearing down white supremacy. Your brilliant wisdom in ‘These Words Kill Fascists’ give us hope in our dystopian reality.
Raven Rose is an absolutely must-see artist, and is a credit to the poetry scene.
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JAMES TURNER

James Turner is a published poet who resides in Exeter. He’s also an artist and nature lover.
Thank you for your poems and short piece of prose, James. ‘One Woman’s Anger’ was dark and intriguing. ‘The Good and Bad in Someone’ gave us insight into your relationship with your father. I really enjoyed your haikus which reflected the beauty of nature.
I think you’re a fascinating artist and it was great to see you.
I enjoyed seeing how thrilled you were at seeing Oddstep Deployment Unit perform, how you said their music really spoke to you. I’m glad that you had a good time, and thank you for stepping in and performing at such short notice.
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GABI MARCELLUS-TEMPLE

Gabi Marcellus-Temple is part of WonderZoo and is an artist and writer, with a background in languages and translation. Her art and writing is a blend of dark, gothic, fantasy and fairy tale themes with elements of surrealism.
Gabi performed a short story entitled ‘Grit’, and it took me on a spell-binding voyage with aquatic imagery. It was a transporting experience and felt so “visceral”, as Tara Zaksaite commented.
A real masterpiece of storytelling, and is available to hear for yourself on our website. www.wonderzoo.org/wonderqueue. Or on the podcast for this gig.
WonderZoo has worked in collaboration with Nudge Community Builders to create ‘WonderQueue’, a project which presents the work of 9 local poets and singer-songwriters, including Gabi, myself and Pete Davey of WonderZoo. The idea was to give people entertainment while they’re stood in queues in Union Street.
Thank you Gabi for everything you do to support the arts through WonderZoo, Feminist Fusion and Client Culture.
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Oddstep Deployment Unit

Experimental electronica at its finest from local artists Mr Sion Oddstep and Dr Lucy Oddstep. They are Plymouth-based live performers who use digital recording and signal processing techniques to create AV folk music for the 21st century.
I found the music relaxing and hypnotic, and enjoyed the euphoric harmonies and pulsing beats. The video they played alongside their music was a mesmerising montage of beautiful male bodies, images of protest, and mind-bending dreaminess.
One of the audience commented, “This is a WOW experience”. Lucy and Sion very kindly gave us an overview of their music-making process. It was great to have you with us at the gig and I hope to see you perform in real life someday too.
To hear more of their music, check out their website, https://oddstepdeploymentunit.bandcamp.com