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London, Ep. 55

February 17, 2016 — Literary Death Match kicked off its residency at the Southbank Centre, with some of the most talented literati in Londontown, on a night that saw Matthew Robins outduel Nick Makoha in a down-to-the-wire Original or Adapted? finale that went to the sudden-sudden-death before Robins was crowned as the LDM London, Ep. 55 champion.

But before the finale was even a thought, the night kicked off with LDM's first-ever musical guest: Lucinda Belle, harpist & Oscar long-listed singer from the forthcoming Think Big : Like Me, who played two songs that had the crowd in an immediate tizzy. Then up stepped the night's first reader: Elizabeth Day, author of Home Fires and Scissors, Paper, Stone who dazzled with an excerpt from her latest novel, Paradise City. Next up was Nick Makoha, London-based poet, playwright and Ugandan Jedi, who reeled off a brilliant poem about the travails of coming to London.

The mic was then handed to the night's trio of all-star judges: Julia Crouch, best-selling thriller writer of the novels The Long Fall and Tarnished; Andrew Hunter Murray, QI literary elf, No Such Thing as a Fish panelist, Austentatious performer; and award-winning comedian Ahir Shah. The three applauded each writer while mixing in so many quick quips before huddling up and making the night's first impossible decision, naming Makoha the night's first finalist.

Then came Round 2, led off by Matthew Robins, musician, filmmaker and animator who, assisted by Tim Spooner, delivered a story-in-song, Evaporina that blew everyone away. Not to be outdone, though, Sadie Hasler — multi award-winning columnist, actor, playwright behind Pramkicker, Co-Artistic Director of Old Trunk Theatre Company — finished the night on an incredible note, delivering a filthy monologue as Katharine Hepburn that had the crowd in throes.

The judges were again center stage, a whorl of brilliant commentary and praise for Hasler and Robins both, but in the end it was declared that Robins would advance as the night's second finalist. 

Then LDM creator Adrian Todd Zuniga stepped up, announcing the night's finale: Adapted or Original? in which the Makoha and Robins were each showed movie posters from Oscar-nominated films and tasked with declaring if they were original or adapted from books. It was a back and forth battle throughout, but with everything to play for it was Robins who nailed the final answer, winning him the LDM London, Ep. 55 crown, and literary immortality to go with it.