SalfordOnline.com Rating: 4 out of 5
If there was a word to sum up the Dead Poets Death Match on Wednesday night, it would be: intense.
Mark Grist and MC Mixy dressed in costumes reminiscent of a high school drama engaged in a rap battle with topics ranging from the bonxie bird to Scottish stereotypes.
Egged on by the intimate crowd in the Lowry Studio, failure would result in the loser downing a combination of lager, whisky, gin and two eggs.
Usually, this forfeit would just involve a pint of lager and a solitary egg but there was a stag do in – and Mark Grist was one of their party.
With an arcade game-style menu flashing on the screen, the audience chose dead poets for Grist and Mixy to do battle for.
Through irreverent and witty biographies, we picked up such pub quiz gems as Lord Byron was an incestuous, womanising tyrant who drank wine from the skulls of his relatives.
Mark Grist and MC Mixy had to justify the “badass” status of each of these dead poets and why they were personally chosen for the show.
Grist’s ode to his pug, Boo, was a spark of genius when reflecting on Byron’s love for his dog, Boatswain.
The poem mixed crude humour with a defiance of being different – an odd feat when you are essentially describing a pet.
The show was both biographical to the dead poets and to the performers themselves.
During a discussion about the religiosity of Rossetti, Grist delivered a touching tribute to a girl he attempted to woo at church. When talking about Sylvia Plath, Mixy performed a very honest and intelligent rap about depression.
That’s the appeal of the Dead Poets’ Death Match: it has a personal touch. It really feels like the audience is forming the show with their contributions and good-hearted banter.
That’s why poor Mark Grist had to down the forfeit cocktail, as a quarter of the audience was taken up by a stag do. And we wouldn’t want to spoil their fun, would we?