Poet Jess Green declares her love for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on stage in Sheffield

The general election could be seen as perfect timing for a show about Jeremy Corbyn – but it brings a big challenge for its creator and performer.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 3:55 pm
Poet Jess Green, who is performing her show, A Self-Help Guide to Being in Love with Jeremy Corbyn, on stage in Sheffield
Poet Jess Green, who is performing her show, A Self-Help Guide to Being in Love with Jeremy Corbyn, on stage in Sheffield

Poet Jess Green has constantly to update her one-woman show, A Self-Help Guide to Being in Love with Jeremy Corbyn, as politics changes so quickly these days and the calling of the election means there is far more ground to cover.

It’s a funny and lyrical take on modern-day politics from a fan of the current Labour leader.

Jess is performing the show on Thursday, November 7 at Theatre Deli in Sheffield.

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She said that the show came about when her publisher asked her for a new collection of work in 2016.

“It was all around the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit,” Jess said.

“When the collection came out in 2018, I had one eye on creating it as a live show.

“The show is live in the real sense of the word – every show is different. Politics moves so fast. No matter what’s happening that day, I have to update the show.”

The show became a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The reaction to it on social media attracted the attention of the Labour Party leader and he took Jess out for a cuppa and a chat.

She said: “He was very friendly. He said to me that taking a show to Edinburgh must be very tiring.

“I said being leader of the opposition must be very tiring!”

Jess described the audience reactions: “It’s a real mix. The title of the show is very divisive and attention-grabbing.

“ There’s people who love Jeremy Corbyn and hate Jeremy Corbyn.

“Quite a lot of Tories have come to see it. I did an interesting gig in Hertfordshire where we had about 50 in – half were educated at Eton and one was a baron.

“He said, ‘You know what, I absolutely loved that, it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in ages. I disagreed with everything you’ve said, it’s brilliant’.”

Jess said she had been a Labour Party member for 12 years and grew up with parents who are party activists.

Both are Blairites and were thrilled when Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997.

“The election of Jeremy Corbyn came out of a generation of people like me who felt let down by the Labour Party.

“It is now quite interesting to see how far we’ve come in three years.

“If I see it through my parents’ eyes, the Labour Party is not recognisable to what it was 10 years ago.”

Jess is fascinated by how short term people’s memories are now: “If something happened over a week ago, I don’t need to include it in the show. If it’s six weeks ago, people have already forgotten.

“Boris Johnson lied to the Queen. That quickly got much less reaction than on the day it happened.”

She added: “If 10 years ago there was a switch flicked and we were where we are now, it would be scary how far we’ve come.”

People don’t notice it as much, she thinks, because the sheer pace of change makes it hard to take in.

Jess’s last show of the tour takes place a couple of days after the election result.

It will be fascinating to see what she’ll be writing about for that show.