Review: PHill Jupitus is Porky the Poet in 27 years on, The Jam House (Venue 44)

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In 1982 a civil servant wrote a poem called They’re All Grown Up in the Beano. It is not a great poem. Arguably not even a good poem. But it started something. In 1985 the civil servant left his job and performed as Porky the Poet. And this year that poem starts a show that could be the start of something else.

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Porky is on stage at the Jam House, a venue which is all polished floors, great lighting and a terrific sound system. The ex-BBC Scotland headquarters is now, thanks to Porky, the newest venue in Peter Buckley Hill’s Free Fringe. And every day it welcomes hundreds for a satisfying mix of poetry, anecdote, opinion and stand up. There’s even a song.

For a long time Porky has been hiding inside Phill Jupitus but now he is out for a ramble and his hour in the spotlight is a real joy. To Porky’s poems there is added Jupitus’s dedicatedly laconic wit – here frequently turned on himself – a spell-binding beastiary of the celebrity world and an anthology of wonderful anecdotes all performed, not just with the skill of a quality stand-up, but with the nuance of a talented actor, which is another Jupitus lurking behind the beardy bitchy face he wears for Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

In between poems, Jupitus lobs some hefty dollops of politics, beautifully targeted, and a supporting cast of impressive impressions – finally Johnny Vaughn makes me laugh.

This is a hour no-one should miss. Not just because it is hugely entertaining, or because you get to see Jupitus rip into the Guardian or demand that the Buzzcocks fans in the front row learn to Respect the Bilk, but because Porky is starting something here. He has taken the Free Fringe to a new level. And Jupitus makes a seriously good case for all big-name comics to come to the Free Fringe. Porky could be what makes an already turning tide into a tsunami.

Kate Copstick

Until today, 4pm.