Press

ON TENDER FINGERS IN A CLENCHED FIST

lemn Sissay has success written on his forehead. – The Guardian
inimitable style – The Times

ON REBEL WITHOUT APPLAUSE

He’s a lyrical genius that’s causing a storm across the country. – The Voice

His poems are the songs of the street, declamatory, imaginative, hard-hitting: about mothers, supermarkets, dreams of Africa, getting picked up by police for being black…mocking the limitations of the mocker.  –  Ruth Padel  –            Independent on Sunday

Floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. – The South African Weekly Guardian

ON MORNING BREAKS IN THE ELEVATOR

An extremely accomplished poet … he moves with consummate skill from loud protest through to quiet reflection … hyperaccurate.” – The Caribbean Times

Fierce, funny, serious, satirical, streetwise and tender.  – The Big Issue

Lemn Sissay is something of a literary institution – The Big Issue

His name is magic. His poems are songs of the street – The Independent on Sunday

ON THE FIRE PEOPLE

Stimulating, sublime, accessible funny…clued up, sensitive, politically motivated without being preachy, informed, ironic, loving and sensual. – Pride

The collection forms a milestone of great significance. –   The Times

a strong spine of fresh talent  –  Dazed & Confused

Reading this made me fonder of my generation – Pride

ON THE EMPEROR’S WATCHMAKER
Hugely enjoyable, inventive and funny and touching   – The Guardian
A  remarkable debut – The Financial Times
His book celebrates the medium which Sissay is not only at ease, but in love – The Guardian
ON SOMETHING DARK

The sheer intimacy of poet Lemn Sissay’s performance underpins the power of this monologue – The Stage.

He seems illuminated from within, gives an adrenaline-fueled performance. The actor’s glorious smile and his flair for turning personal struggle into stand-up and poetry is effortlessly entertaining. – The Guardian unlimited.

A triumph – The Scotsman

We are aware of being in the grip of a master of the spoken word and a highly charismatic performer –  Metro North

Riveting style – The Stage

A big hearted pleasure – Time Out  (critics choice)

It would be impossible to come away from this show unmoved and uninspired – Metro London

Nov 5 2010:  Very occasionally a piece of art exists which is so powerful that if allowed to come into your life, it will turn your perspectives inside out. Lemn Sissay’s something Dark with its candid and shattering truths is precisely this. – South African Jewish Report   – Robyn Sassen

Nov 5 2010:  The fire and ice of this internationally acclaimed poet’s language will bring you  to the brink of tears in a place where you fear you can go no further;  they will encourage you to take one more step, before allowing you to catch your breath – South African Jewish Report – Robyn Sassen

Oct 29 2010:  Something Dark is part of a trilogy encompassing a documentary for television and another for radio aired to critical accalaim on BBC.  ….building his vocabulary one step at a time, amassing literary devices and building his confidence, not only as a writer but also as a human being with no parents, would break anyone. Not Sissay, he emerged spiritually strong, intellectually invigorated, literarily skilled and polished and ready to face the world. And face the world he did – The Sowetan  –  Edward Tsumele

Nov 7 2010:  This is an astonishing work, raw and visceral, compellingly tol and yet with enough balance and humour to prevent the play tipping over into maudlin sentimentality. The direction is tight, and the performance moving and heartfelt. It’s full of feats of verbal display, which are a marvel to hear.

It’s not easy hearing the story – and yet this was my second time. I saw it last year when it was shown at the market theatre briefly.

It’s compelling enough for a second take. You wil be moved by the circumstance of this mans beginnings – but take from it too, hope.. – The Sunday Independent: Arja Salafranca

7Nov 2010:  Harnessing poetry’s powerful alchemy Sissay transforms a tragic destiny determined by the hubris of lowly civil servant, a life of unimaginable obstacles and life-altering revalations, into one of outrageous fortune. – City Press – Gail Smith

7 Nov 2010:  The indictiment of the system that violated him, is razor sharp, but he peddles on victim’s tale.  The poignancy of Sissays poetic narrative is heightened by his incisive wit. Skilled comedic timing ensures that Something Dark Doesn’t Get swallowed  by its tragic potential. – City press Gail Smith           

Nov 2010:    “Something Dark” is compelling theatre, a one-man show that swoops and soars through a whole range of emotions. He re-enacts an exorcism and his devastating rejection by his adoptive family, then instantly switches mood to make us laugh and dispel the lump in our collective throats. The play comes at us in two acts, and you’re itching for the interval to end so you can find out how his adult life unfolds…. utterly absorbing theatre – Daily Maverick  – Lesley Stones

 We are aware of being in the grip of a master of the spoken word and a highly charismatic performer – Metro.

A triumph   – The Scotsman.

The sheer intimacy of poet Lemn Sissay’s performance underpins the power of this monologue – The Stage.

He seems illuminated from within, gives an adrenaline-fueled performance. The actor’s glorious smile and his flair for turning personal struggle into stand-up and poetry is effortlessly entertaining. – The Guardian unlimited.

Riveting style – The Stage.

A big hearted pleasure – Time Out (critics choice).

It would be impossible to come away from this show unmoved and uninspired – Metro London

On touring with saxophonist David Murray

The finale went to the heart of Jazz – sissay chanting “we are the fire people” while David Murray blazed beside him and the band generated the power of an erupting volcano. That moment together with earlier ones like trumpeter Rasul Siddik getting seriously emotional above the Harris led band with sissay shadow boxing behind him; Ragin and alto player James Spaulding following simultaneously; together with the constant joy provided by the eduliant Fred Hopkins anchoring it all on bass – these were not only the high points of this concert but surely high points of Birmingham Jazzs contribution to the cultural life of the city. If I were a list maker this would be in my top five concerts of all time. – The Birmingham Post.

A born Performer – Big Issue

Lemn Sissay is the Brendhan Behan of poetry. – Terry Christian