Lucy and Friends

Lucy McCormick
Soho Theatre, John Mackay and United Agents
Soho Theatre

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Lucy and Friends at Soho Theatre, Lucy McCormick Credit: Jonny Ruff
Lucy and Friends at Soho Theatre Credit: Publicity image

With the force of a tornado, Lucy McCormick tangles with your emotions leaving you to go home delightedly ragged.

Based on the premise that McCormick was forced into doing solo cabaret because the show she had been going to make with friends didn’t get ACE funding, then facing the pressure to create ‘community’ when she did, the running theme of the evening is making friends of the audience.

It starts easily enough, singing along to the first of several pop anthems and McCormick engaging a dozen or so accomplices to help later in the show as she clambers through the audience. But then, almost without you noticing, she draws you to the edge of the aforementioned vortex and in you fall.

As you tumble down, uncertain where you are going or how you will get there, you ricochet between laughing at the silliness and your stomach dropping in discomfort at the raw emotion.

McCormick is confident and yet vulnerable. A watchable ball of energy such that the pace lulls whilst she is off-stage for costume changes, this mundane necessity and the few jokes that outstay their welcome being the only blemishes on this hour of comical anarchy.

This is a show conspicuously personal to its creator whilst also being unsettling at an individual level across the audience. I will never be able to look at a piñata the same way again.

Those familiar with McCormick’s unapologetically bold rule-breaking will take in their stride the number of her orifices on display or the amount of tomato puree spread across her athletically lean body.

For newbies to her work, getting hung up on the nudity or the apparent hit-and-miss chaos of the delivery is to miss the top notes of loneliness or the equally effective if less subtle political commentary that threads through the sketches.

As a show, its style and content defies description and any attempt would be reductive. But “is this art?” McCormick asks at one point. Hell yeah.

Lucy and Friends is also one of the messiest shows I've seen in a while. By the end, the stage is strewn with the debris of McCormick’s outpourings. As she passes a phone around the audience to start a WhatsApp group of her new friends, others, bin bag in hand, help with the clearing up. After all, isn't that what mates do, especially after such a great party.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

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