Tuesday, April 23

Lucy and Friends – Soho Theatre

Dressed as a tree, Lucy McCormick takes the mic aside the tech box. She tells us that there’s a problem with the tech and that the show can’t go on. “Only joking!” she shouts. The fun has only just begun.

‘Lucy and Friends’ is an expectation-defying, fluid-splattering bonanza that leaves you gasping and giggling on repeat. It is a high camp meta-theatrical treasure. But heed the age rating and content warnings… this show is not one to see with the parents!

McCormick is an outstanding performer and knows her audience well. Jokes about Arts Council funding requirements were met with bouts of laughter, as she asserted her ultimate goal: to create a community of ‘friends’ within the theatre. From here onwards, audience members were asked to represent people in her life, throw confetti while she sang, read lines from a clipboard while she dressed backstage, shine a torch on her while she danced through audience seating, and much more. Her persona revelled in the attention and glory of hosting her new friends. I felt like I was watching a performance of a performance… and I couldn’t stop laughing. Whether she is performing as a ghost, a cat, a sex therapist, you can’t help but admire McCormick’s deft comic flair. Her multitudinous facial expressions, coupled with her unpredictability, offered us 60 minutes of unforgettable comedy. However, in spite of the sustained laughter throughout the entire show, there were a couple of jokes that were drawn out for a few seconds longer than they needed to be.

Interesting provocations were carefully embedded within the speeches that her persona directed to the audience members who were portraying her agent and a fictional reviewer. These particularly encouraged us to think about what is ‘effective’ comedy; about what is ‘fun’ and what is ‘funny’. We were covertly invited into this through the humour, i.e. there were no explicit moral overtones or sense that we were circling back to a social lesson. Finally, the audience didn’t know whether to laugh at or pity her closing monologue about lost friends, as she hung like a lonely spider from a metal beam onstage, caked in tomato paste. A phone was passed around during her final song, which she interrupted to kindly instruct us to punch our numbers in so she can create a WhatsApp group for us all. You leave the auditorium with more questions than answers, and more laughter than questions… I struggle to find a comparison to anything I’ve ever seen before! It is wholesale bonkers, brilliance in abundance.

‘Lucy and Friends’ is playing at the Soho Theatre until 16th March, details for booking can be found here: https://sohotheatre.com/events/lucy-friends/

Reviewer: Eleanor Hall

Reviewed: 29th February 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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