Review: Lucy McCormick: Lucy and Friends

Appropriately challenging and extremely fun solo hour from Lucy McCormick

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Lucy & Friends
Photo by Holly Revell
Published 11 Aug 2023

Does any show at the Fringe have a more extensive content warning list than Lucy and Friends? Walking into the Pleasance Forth we're advised about, here goes, loud music, scenes of a sexual nature and nudity, strobe and haze, audience participation, plus allergen warnings for hummus, tomato puree, wine and carrot. I can assure, all are ticked off. And, sure enough, this is appropriately challenging, uncomfortable stuff from an artist known for using her body as a confronting site for performance. But there's something we're not warned of: actually, this is really, really fun.

Lucy and Friends is, in fact, Lucy McCormick's first solo show – the setup for the joke being a) that she didn't get the Arts Council funding to involve pals, and, b) as we get to know her better, that in fact she's a bit of a loner. So we are her friends and, though we don't get our hands or our bodies quite as dirty as does McCormick, we're involved, corralled into various bits of performance by this sassy, chaotic, messy perversion of a Saturday night TV host only with twice the charisma.

McCormick methodically works through a catalogue of dramatic and comedic techniques, careening between spectacle and bathos, song and dance, wordless act outs (of a cat, no less), and fierce monologues (with heavily ironised scene-chewing justifications of her art), all the while dropping one-liners. But what emerges through the fun and the flesh and the chaos are the shadows of loneliness and alienation, and the dramatisation – or perhaps the reality – of a community brought into existence before our eyes.