By Jack Wright
A series of Joshua Idehen’s fantastically entertaining ‘Oi Barman!’, a lovesong to bar staff across London, concluded at the Barbican on Saturday afternoon.
The fifth of five shows organised by Poet in the City, Idehen entertained the audience with three extended spoken word pieces about his time working as a bartender. Idehen accompanied each of these performances with a cocktail served to three lucky attendees sat at the bar.
Descriptions of the patrons served by the bartender throughout his performance were the most standout aspect of his storytelling. His fellow workers, the “brown Boris”, his Slovenian love interest; each was carefully crafted and recounted in an evocative and visual manner.
Though the content of these poems may have varied, the comedic delivery of Idehen’s words ensured a humorous tone throughout. Harsher realities, including deportation and – albeit amusingly – heartbreak, were explored with considered, sensitive delivery.
Perhaps the standout line from Idehen’s performance came towards the start. He announced he would be making cocktails for attendees while performing, yet stated that only three in attendance would be served over the half an hour. Quote the barman: ‘Is this not a typical night out in London?’