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Whistle is a winner for Martin Figura!

17 June 2013

Whistle-SaboteurAwardWe’re immensely pleased for Martin Figura, whose performance of Whistle has won the Saboteur 2013 Best Spoken Word Show Award. Among comments from the voters were the following:

  • The most heartening true story of human resilience told in stunning poems I’ve ever seen in such an intense, understated show.
  • Powerful, dark,moving, much said without the saying, great visuals and surprisingly fun also.
  • Whistle transforms harrowing experiences into a moving and beautiful production.
  • Shakespeare-like in its mixture of tragedy & humour
  • Martin Figura’s poetry in “Whistle” is beautifully constructed and allows the reader a look into the events of Martin’s past whilst encouraging somewhat deeper reflection on one’s own circumstances, avoiding judgement and regret.
  • An extraordinary story in poems and photos told with humour, subtlety and without self-pity. Invaded my dreams and will stay with me forever
  • Whistle includes excellent poems and tells a compelling story. The multi-media elements add a great deal and the show has a wide reach. It’s been performed at many festivals and has everyone buzzing. Simply the best show I’ve ever seen.

Our own Cathy Grindrod was very strong in her insistence that we brought Whistle to Beeston, and here she tells us why:

Martin Figura’s riveting sequence of poems about his childhood, his father killing his mother, and the consequences of that upon the whole family is remarkable for the story he doesn’t tell, as much as for the story he does. (Jackie Kay)

I saw Martin Figura’s Whistle at Wenlock Poetry Festival and subsequently bought the book. The poems work superbly both on and off the page, which makes Whistle an excellent example of how writing can successfully cross the boundaries between page poetry, spoken word and theatre and end up in a class of its own.

Being a believer in the power of poetry to deliver life-changing messages, I was intrigued to know how such brave and dark subject matter as a murder within a poet’s own family might be approached and explored. The impact of the performance has remained with me. Moving, sometimes heartbreaking, yes; but it is above all a fascinating and entertaining coming-of-age story – sensitive, thoughtful, unsentimental, and with many moments of wit, warmth and humour.

Martin Figura has a wonderful stage presence. The addition of lighting and on-screen images to the performance create a masterful and professional whole.

Since my first experience of the performance, which has now been seen, appreciated and discussed by many, Whistle has been deservedly nominated for both the Saboteur Best Spoken Word show 2013 and the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry.

Cathy Grindrod


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