Lucy and Friends
  • By M Johnson
  • |
  • 10th Aug 2023
  • |
  • ★★★★

Lucy McCormick may think she's the diva of her feral, budget cabaret of brazen filth but the real joy is taking part in the push and pull of being in an audience under her spell.

McCormick is a powerhouse performer

McCormick is trying to put on a full Spiegeltent cabaret extravaganza. However, as the Arts Council funding fell through, some improvisation is needed to get this show on the road. What follows is a charming hour of McCormick asking, directing, and carousing the audience into taking part to support her solo shows. We help in a variety of ways, from all rising to sing songs between the acts in a messy queer communion, or throwing confetti at the right time, or using a torch to light her as she races across the space.

You can easily forget the sheen of amateurism because McCormick is a powerhouse performer, flicking from moment to moment, from terrifying, to sobbing, to sultry, to raging at the machine. Her stage persona is gloriously inconsistent, keeping the audience on their toes. She's a star who loves the stage and she just wants to be enough for the audience as she is. She needs no one and can look out for herself, but she's actually looking for friends. Do you know how hard it is to make friends as an adult?

If you lose sight of her during the show, she’ll have cracked off two jokes before you catch sight of her again. Waving a knife, doing her best impression of psycho, trying desperately to jack-off to the items in a woman's handbag, sitting silently on a box staring at the audience, sticking edible goods into orifices, absolutely nailing an entire Adele song in order to crack a dad joke.

McCormick is a master of pace; the piece hops between a staged version of being inside an ADHD brain, a thousand thoughts and jokes all firing at once; to waiting, deliciously, ear-ringingly awkwardly waiting, waiting with the audience in the palm of her hand.

I have been gunning to see McCormick live since her performances at Fierce in Birmingham, where she gained quite the following. This show is not one people wander into by accident - the audience fully understand that they are going to see naked flesh and sex acts. In this show, it leads to less visceral shock value in the performance than you might expect. McCormick has an audience and they are extremely happy to revel and have fun with this cackling harlequin. I would have been extremely happy to have been put in a group chat with these people.

Visit Show Website

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Lucy and Friends


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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The Blurb

Lucy McCormick is back with her most ambitious medium-concept catastrophic show yet. Join Lucy as she unveils her ensemble cabaret tent spectacular… Unfortunately, she has no friends, no money, and no tent. Still, there’ll be pole dancing, variety acts, strip routines and some quick reworking of social policy. In a despairing world, lonely Lucy creates community, connection, and conversation the only way she knows how.

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