Words: Elodie Marriott
As the audience files into the theatre, Lucy McCormick stomps around the seating area in a tree costume made of felt, trying to convince an elderly woman to take part in the show. As the rest of the set confirms, no one dares say no to her. Even when the acts leave us wide-eyed, asking: “Is she really allowed to do that??”
For an hour, Lucy scares and delights. The audience only releasing their held breath when laughing. Transforming from animal to phantom to something covered in tomato, one could be fooled into mistaking the unexpected changes in direction to be uncertain, rather than an organised chaos.
There are group songs, games, and even a hypnosis, all directed with a manic kookiness. Her solo vocal performances are genuinely enjoyable yet tinged with silliness and always accompanied by a bizarre costume. The comedy is erratic and startling, maintaining the momentum even when she leaves stage for a quick change, requesting that we sing by ourselves.
In the final act, an imitation of herself has an unsettling meltdown in which she asks: “Can we call this art?” Maybe in some other show this would have been rhetorical, but this is Lucy McCormick, and she considers the audience just as much a part of the performance as she is (It’s called Lucy & Friends, after all). Judging by the standing ovation she receives, yes, we can call this art.
Lucy and Friends
Pleasance Courtyard, Fourth
9-13, 15-20, 22-23 Aug