Soho Theatre, Soho, London, 12/02/2020.
Rimming! Nudity! Satan! Extremely pleasant renditions of popular songs! Lucy McCormick’s latest show at the Soho Theatre contains all four of the above in a production which some might consider shocking, and it can’t be argued that there are a couple of moments along those lines, but the majority of it is a very funny, often absurd, sometimes daft hour of comedy and performance art that is mostly delightful and undoubtedly memorable.
Coming on to the stage with Samir Kennedy and Rhys Hollis, her two friends / fellow artists, McCormick explains how we’re about to see her take on every single important woman throughout the annals of history, with her search for a hero an important aspect of it, while Kennedy and Hollis are on hand to play supporting roles and we the audience will be part of the show too. Due to this she wants to warm us up and that means echoing an almost impossibly complicated bit of singing, and then taking part in a game of charades with her which sees her lick not only Samir Kennedy’s mouth and tongue but then after his underwear’s removed, his posterior.
It’s a quite surprising moment to put it gently, but all in service of an unpredictable gag when it’s revealed that McCormick was acting out a play based on Brexit. The audience reaction is a little confused, but intentionally so as McCormick explains that her shows aren’t for everyone, or that like life not everything that you’ll see on the stage tonight will necessarily be something you like. She’s wrong on this count with the majority of the audience however, who lap up everything which follows.
That includes her take on the stories of Adam and Eve, Boudica, Anne Boleyn, Florence Nightingale, and (very briefly) The Suffragettes, all of which include a selection of fascinating ideas regarding these famous women, a good few songs which when placed in a new context become hilarious, some superb clowning (with Kennedy’s satanic snake slowly slithering across the stage being the highlight for me), and a mixture of questions about the nature of the lives of these individuals adding depth to proceedings.
As well as all of this there’s an interval where Lucy ponders the nature of fame and her close to break out status, a number of bad jokes from Penguin bars, a pantomime horse, and an ending so unforgettable that it truly is something you will never see elsewhere. Throughout McCormick is a bold, forceful and truly hilarious performer, and this is a show that’s so great, and so unusual, that it will remain in your memory for years to come, if not decades.
Lucy McCormick: Post Popular is at the Soho Theatre until February 22nd, and further information and ticket details can be found here: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/lucy-mccormick-post-popular/