This is a review of the Bavard Bar, held at Printers Playhouse Eastbourne on 4th July 2019
The Bavard Bar describes itself as a delightful blend of TED talks, comedy and Radio 4. Sort of.
Its premise is simple, three people stand on stage for fifteen minutes and talk about their passion. An enthralled, inquisitive and interested audience then get to ask them questions about it.
Intermixed with the talks are some funny games, gags, a bit of stand up and a talented artist hiding in the corner drawing the speakers and the audience.
So, how did it go?
The evening is hosted by the relentlessly cheery and upbeat Tim Crook. He’s very clever, passionate, friendly and engaging. He opens with some amusing stories, talks with the audience and explains what’s going to happen.
He took great delight in telling us about a speaker who gave a talk on bottom reading. Tim then had a personal consultation and showed us drawings divined from the reading. There is no subject too obscure for a Bavard.
Tim’s introduction is finely balanced, he gives us a rough guide as to what is coming up, without spoiling the surprise. It turns out that not knowing anything about the subjects on offer piques our curiosity.
It’s important to understand that none of the speakers are professional entertainers or performers and they should not be judged in that way. This is where the charm of the show lies. What speakers lack in professionalism and stage craft is more than made up for by their passion and knowledge, mostly.
As people we seem fascinated by people’s obscure obsessions and peccadilloes and unless they are ranting on about religion or politics we are generally engaged.
The show was sold out with an audience of newbies and old hands. They were a lively bunch, chatting freely and noisily with their neighbours. The packed room, on a warm summer night, gave the show an Edinburgh Fringe feel.
The First speaker was Dave Perry, talking about being a ‘Posh Northerner’. Turns out Dave is fascinated by the social phenomena of psycho-geography. He was brought up in Durham, before university and life took him on a journey ever Southwards.
For an amateur speaker Dave was charming and funny. He quickly got the audience engaged, laughing and joking along with his experiences. For example, meeting someone at a party who after being told Dave was from Durham, insisted he was not. His accent is more Southern private school than North East Geordie so it’s easy to disbelieve.
He tells us what it was like growing up in Durham, why he doesn’t have an accent and how that produces a sense of loss of community. The audience respond with their own tales, jokes, laughter and general chatter break out. Everyone enjoyed it, with a lively Q&A and conversations continuing through the interval.
Turns out a Bavard Bar is a good place to meet new people.
Between the talks Tim runs a Caption Competition, shows drawings from the artist (Cliff Crawford) hiding in the corner and treats us to some of his games.
The KP Nuts game is harder than it looks. He shows a series of 6 random slides, for 15 seconds each and a volunteer has to make up a story about them as each slide pops up. Ben, who has never seen this before, does brilliantly.
Then there is the ‘Oojah Kappivvy’, based on Would I Lie to You? A volunteer blindly chooses either a true fact about themselves or something made up by Tim. The audience then get to question them in order to determine if she is lying or not. In this particular case, Caroline fooled the entire audience with a made-up story about ringing the starting bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
Our second speaker was a Psychologist, Gladeana McMahon who wanted to talk to us about ‘Cock-Ups’. The audience immediately reverted to school-children, finding the title of the talk amusing, which was a good start.
This talk was a bit more academic in nature. That is not to say it was dry, boring and obscure, it was not. Here we had an expert talking about the study and science of the human psyche and relating to the everyday, illustrating key points with examples, methaphor and not a little humour.
Gladeana took us through the psychology of ‘Cock-Ups’, why we fear them, what they mean to us, how we should deal with them and why we should embrace them. She also talked about the pointless pursuit of unattainable perfectionism. Turns out they are just a fact of life and means that we are out doing something, taking a risk and living a little.
Suddenly some of my own life choices didn’t seem so bad.
Our final speaker was David Jay. To illustrate the variety of speakers on offer, David was taking about ‘Street Art’. Taking us through the difference between Street Art and Graffiti he gave us a presentation filled with wonderful images through the ages.
Turns out Street Art spans thousands of years and all cultures. It mirrors our history. Looking at recent history he explains some of the key developments in recent art, telling us some of the key figures and how they work.
It was unfortunate that technical issues meant he was unable to show some of the video that was meant to accompany the presentation. Something he recovered from brilliantly.
As with the all the speakers the Q&A could have gone on for ages. The audience had bought into the premise of the show, they enjoyed the content, they laughed, chatted, made new friends and learned something they didn’t know.
Short version, this was an excellent evening’s entertainment where you get to laugh, learn something and meet someone new. It’s because these are not professional speakers that the show works. It is Highly Recommended.
Here is a link to the website: https://bavardbar.co.uk/
Tickets are on sale from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk
If you were at the show, why not leave a comment? Let us know what you thought.
Review written by Joe Angella