Black Liver review – Glastonbury Festival 2024

Photo: Charles Gervais, Both Hemispheres Photography.

We are now honorary Northerners, those of us who weren’t previously, for the next hour says Ruth – half of Black Liver alongside Keith. She’s from Blackpool, he’s from Liverpool, hence the name.

Outside the tent the Glastonbury faithful are donning their pink cowboy hats in anticipation of Shania Twain but in the relaxed Poetry&Words we’re chilling out on beanbags where Black Liver are performing an abridged version of their theatre show Miss Nobodies, one of four theatre shows in the Poetry&Words tent at Glastonbury.

The work stems, Ruth tells us, from interviewing people in the North, mostly seeking them out in charity shops – it’s the best place to get people to talk apparently. The stories they picked up along the way become performance poems, recited by Ruth with Keith on guitar, or musical ditties which feature the two of them singing.

They bring the best of the North to the show without shying away from some of the challenges. There is a wonderful piece about a mother who thinks she’s ’just a mum’ that notes ‘if [she] didn’t do it, it wouldn’t get done’ that does the former and a song about that latter that addresses the ‘I’m not racist but..’ mindset.

A few elements don’t land on today’s audience – Keith’s musical impressions, for example – and there’s the challenge of a significant sound bleed from the nearby Sensation Seekers Stage, which they can’t control. What does shine through is the pair’s love for where they’re from and what they do.

Black Liver performed at Poetry&Words at Glastonbury Festival 2024, running from 26 to 30 June

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