Theatre and book reviews by Janice Dempsey
When we went over to Paris last autumn we met up with two excellent poetry groups who each run weekly performance nights. We went back to Paris from Monday to Friday last week so that we could go to both again. Having arrived on Eurostar at the Gare du Nord in Monday afternoon, at 8pm we were signing up to read at the Chat Noir (76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, near the Parmentier and Couronnes metro stations). We were pleased that David, the organiser, recognised us - or at least he recognised Dónall who is hard to forget! We also met Hanni, who was hosting that night and did a brilliant job of it. Both they and the rest of the audience made us feel very welcome.
Au Chat Noir is a café bar with an extensive basement where poetry events are held. It's very atmospheric, very warm, friendly and inclusive. There's always a big crowd of people of all ages, both performing and listening. It's a strangely muted evening, aurally, because there's no clapping - applause is by finger-snapping, to avoid disturbing the bar's neighbours through the thin old walls, especially when the evening is warm and the doors are left ajar. That doesn't prevent impassioned poetry, however. There's usually a theme - on 26th May it was Ghosts, which Dónall easily accommodated. Not everyone stuck to the theme, for which I was grateful. We particularly enjoyed the poems of John Evans, a Canadian poet whose poem about "Beige" was very vivid and performed immaculately.
Here are the videos of our own readings.