Fringe Review – “Poet vs Pageant”: And The Winner Is Telia Nevile!


(Photo courtesy of Telia Nevile)

Inspirational, mesmerizing, profound, relatable, absolutely fantastic – those are few of the countless ways to describe Telia Nevile’s outstanding spoken word performance in Poet vs Pageant.

The writer and performer has flown in all the way from Australia to illuminate the Montreal Fringe stage with her impeccable delivery of an epic tale of a poetess who had chosen to test herself beyond her mental ability and dive into a world where beauty is celebrated above all. While one may be reminded of “Miss Congeniality”, Nevile’s story is a lot more emotional, realistic, and ruthless. It portrays human nature and the challenges of staying true to yourself when following the crowd seems like a better option.

Nevile remained consistent throughout the hour and never broke the tempo. Her rhyming was clever and perfectly executed, and she beautifully engaged the audience with her facial expressions and tongue-in-cheek humour. (I took note to tell my rivals that next time I will “hollow their bones out and use them as flutes”. Brutal yet beautiful.) The most outstanding moment consisted of a witty cheerleading routine that showcased Nevile’s ability to switch from storyteller to active character. The transition was so smooth and seamless, it felt like you were watching a whole new person on stage. (The change in lighting was also a nice touch, helping differentiate when the narrator and the poet were speaking). The show was minimalistic, which suited the setting and allowed the audience to pay attention to the poem itself without any other distractions.

Telia Nevile demonstrated humility, gracefulness, and true artistic prowess in this must-see piece. Poet vs Pageant is a reminder to every person that even the most jaded of characters can experience compassion and understanding, and learn to continue living without regrets. By taking a step out of your comfort zone (like I did by agreeing to listen to spoken word poetry while having the attention span of a squirrel), you’ll often surprise yourself with what can resonate with you personally. The night ended with a gift from Nevile herself in which I have guarded safely in my phone case to never forget the inspiration that is Telia Nevile, and that I will indeed move onwards as another one of life’s awkward soldiers.

Review by Montreal Theatre Hub Fringe Contributor Patricia Fitzgibbon

Telia Nevile presents “Poet vs Pageant”

When: June 9 – 18, 2017
Where: Black Theatre Workshop Studio, 3680 Jeanne-Mance
Admission: $9
Duration: 45 minutes
Tickets: | 514.849.FEST (3378)

Official Media Partner of the 2017 St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival

Check out our other 70+ reviews from this year’s Fringe!