Roger McGough/ Royal Philharmonic 10/10 Ensemble. Summer With Monika. Music Rooms, Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Poetry and music give the same sense of hope and beauty to which arguably nothing else made by our own minds and creative souls, save an artist’s delicate touch or an actor’s soliloquy, can stand up to in comparison. Combine them, join them at the hip and something truly magical happens, it can feel like seeing the stars for the first time, watching a waterfall cascade over thousands of years of rocks and rubble which have been shaped by time and patience or even the wide eyed wonder of a child realise that the world is there to be explored. In nature the moment is forever, in the words of one of Britain’s finest poets of the last one hundred years, it is a spectacle that makes your heart glow.

Music and poetry on stage at the same time, many have tried it and for some it works with passion and a sense of greatness but with Liverpool’s poetic son Roger McGough, Andy Roberts on guitar, the Royal Philharmonic 10/10 Ensemble, the wondrous, voice of Hungary’s Anikó Tóth and the skills of conductor Peter Davison, the Philharmonic Hall Music Rooms became a place of near reverence, a location in which a dedicated audience sat on two different nights and took in several differing arrangements, numerous poems from Mr. McGough and a piece of work, the exotic and melancholically beautifully Summer With Monika.

It was in this piece that the two evenings were wrapped around, a stirring piece of music with the poetry and words overlaid. It was this in which the foundation of the evening was built and one to which could arguably be thought of as the defining marriage between musical appreciation and poetry is built.

With the ever popular Roger McGough teasing the fans in the audience with his quick wit and settled eyebrow raised tones, he also fixed his grin and prowess on the audience with several of his works across the ages, including Snipers, My Little Eye, What Happened to Henry and Another Time

This was a not to be missed moment in the annals of Liverpool’s poetry scene, the Godfather of the post war verse, one of three wise men of the British Beat, bringing music from the sensational Andy Roberts, the Royal Philharmonic 10/10 Ensemble and Anikó Tóth together with the thread of a poetic punch line and cheer in between them all.

Ian D. Hall