Review- Peel Street Poetry


By: Theo Blake


Orange Peel is a hip nightclub in the middle of Lan Kwai Fong. You wouldn’t know it at first glance but this place is a mecca for poetry every Wednesday night. I was invited to see Peel Street Poetry; a performance group that has been bringing poetry jams to Hong Kong for years. It was exciting to see a new type of show, something casual and it didn’t hurt that the price was free. (Just buy a drink to support the bar!)


Peel Street is an open-mic set up, meaning anyone can perform; they just need to volunteer to take the stage. I appreciated the community atmosphere of the event and thought the emcee, Henrik, was really great at his job. He was enthusiastic about the material and getting the audience to participate in the show. He had good projection, clarity when speaking and even took the stage himself with a few pieces. Persona was my personal favorite.


The poet I enjoyed the most was Vishal. A quirky fellow upon first glance, his material is smart and witty. He reminds me of a beat style standup comedian rather than a traditional poet. He had excellent stage presence and was obviously well seasoned at performing at Orange Peel. I recommend people attend Peel Street just to see him. He’s really THAT good. 


Some of the poets didn’t seem to have the experience of the others and this led to an unevenness in the show overall. But when you attend an open-mic this is to be expected. The poets I enjoyed the most seemed to know their material very well, relied less on notes and read the room well when it came to taking pauses and increasing volume. 


Two poets who could improve in delivery of their work are Andrew and Denis. It was obvious that they had less experience than the other poets but had great courage in taking the mic. For future shows, I hope they’ll work on their diction and adding emphasis to their work. Denis had some great points in his piece and I felt it really could have been improved by simply adding pauses or a hand gesture at certain moments. I’m hoping they’ll read these same pieces again at a future show after workshopping them a bit. Practice makes perfect, after all… 


The Peel Street Poets are entertaining and easy to watch. I hope that more people will come out and experiment with this art form. (Especially the ladies of Hong Kong… who I’m sure have a lot to say.) For the cost of a drink you get several hours of entertainment in a cool bar in LKF, make some new friends from the artsy crowd and get to hear new work. Who knows? Maybe we have a budding Keates or Ginsburg in our midst and you'll be able to say "I knew him when…"


Peel Street Poetry performs most Wednesday nights at Orange Peel. For more information, click here.



Related articles:

hongkong, review, poetry

Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 4.3


  • Henrik Hoeg
    29 May 2015

    Hey. I'm the current emcee of the open mic poetry night being reviewed here. I want to thank HKLED for coming by to check it out and for the kind words.

    For anyone reading this and wanting to share some of their stuff at the open mic I want to reassure you that we are super friendly, open, inclusive and non-judgmental. A review, like the above, naturally turns a critical eye on some things. I hope no one gets the impression from this review that individuals who come are being judged on their stuff, the vibe is much friendlier than that. Reading at an open mic takes courage; everyone who attends respects that and can expect the same respect in return.

    The other thing I feel that I need to touch on is that the review mentions 4 male poets, but not a single one of the awesome women that read on the night. The women outnumbered the men that night (which is par for the course), yet the reviewer only discussed men, and then at the end suggests that more women ought to attend. We are very inclusive, and you'll notice very quickly that the HK poetry community has no short supply of powerful and incredibly talented female poets.

    Key point is: the poetry scene in Hong Kong is wonderful and absolutely worth checking out.
  • Theo
    29 May 2015

    Thanks Henrik for your response. I enjoyed coming and seeing the show very much. It was hard to find things to critique about the show, as I had a very good time watching it and totally respect what you guys are trying to do. Also open mic is a weird thing to try and review because of the casual feeling of the evening.

    I enjoyed the lady poets very much. In regards to my comment about my comment about females attending. I not only want more ladies on stage but in the audience. It's hard to write about every single poet that performs, so I just chose the memorable for me.

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