Every now and then I come across an event that genuinely surprises me with its quality.  Host Ben Mellor describes Pen:Chant as an ‘eclectic cabaret of delights’.  Moving around Manchester’s venues and without a permanent home, on tonight’s bill at Gullivers are a short open mic slot, a singer/songwriter and a stand up poet.

It’s a relaxed, supportive atmosphere and the evening opens with four short open mic performers, all interesting, all well executed.  Next up is singer/songwriter Kirsty McGee.  Drawing on thirties jazz, accompanied only by her guitar Fritz, this is beautiful, heartfelt and personal music.  Finally stand up poet Jonny Fluffypunk presents his show about ‘one man’s struggle with late-onset responsibility’ or why it’s so hard to be a dad.  Reflective, poetic and true to any dad’s maxim of ‘make it up as you go along’, this is an intelligent, poignant and funny show.  At nearly three hours in total, this is an evening packed with quality performances.

Did they say that Norris and Parker will be in the line up at their next event in July?  Can’t wait.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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