Keith Hutson (a published student)
October 2016
Poetry Salzburg

About the publication

"In a sequence of thirty one sonnets celebrating famous Music Hall and Variety performers, Keith Hutson shows just how right Eliot was when arguing that Marie Lloyd represented and expressed ‘that part of the English nation which has perhaps the greatest vitality and interest’. From Lottie Collins’s Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay and Vesta Tilly’s Burlington Bertie to a saucily cross-dressing Anita Harris on The Good Old Days, Hutson lets us see why Goebbels wanted to execute all Music Hall entertainers. Humour lifts the veil on our prejudices and hypocrisies, at the level of genius in Shakespeare and Dickens, as glorious subversive entertainment brought back to life in these wonderful poems." William Bedford


Knowing, funny, sad, virtuoso, these compelling sonnets bring theatrefuls of yesteryear vividly to life. Keith Hutson explores art as artfulness, performance as a way of coping, or seeming to. His ad-libs are perfectly timed and if we laugh out loud at his routines, we flinch too at the ‘imaginary hot fat’ of the risks his characters take by being centre-stage.

Peter Sansom

From Georgie Doonan kicking his own backside to Tubby Turner wrestling a deck-chair, this is a pamphlet guaranteed to leave the reader wanting more. What an array of music-hall stars Keith Hutson parades before us in these witty, beautifully handled sonnets. Master of quick-fire comedy, rather like the characters he brings back to life, this poet to watch gives us a ‘contortionist who couldn’t make ends meet’, a fryer of imaginary fish who ‘makes every spit and spatter count’, his younger self as ‘a chubster with a nan who made me laugh/like I was full of helium’. Like Reg Gardiner, Hutson leaves us ‘travelling to Variety, first class’. First class, indeed. I can’t wait to read his full collection.

Carole Bromley