Lucy McCormick review caustically candid comedy about history’s famous women

McCormick rips up the rulebook with Post Popular, a hedonistic history lesson that is trashy, volatile … and honest

Utterly indelicate and completely unpredictable, Post Popular is a wild ride. Lucy McCormicks ludicrous performance-lecture-cum-cabaret-cum-rage-room is built with so many layers of irony and mockery that its core would be rotten by the time you dug down to it. If only more history lessons were like this.


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McCormicks work stems from the live art scene, where she worked as part of the provocative duo GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN. She achieved cult status in 2016 with her first solo show Triple Threat, an X-rated take on the New Testament. She quickly outdoes herself in Post Popular; within minutes shes intimately licking one of her backing dancers. But far more than a gratuitous joke, this singalong search for a hero is a sabre-toothed comedy about womens place in the limelight.

Having played Jesus in Triple Threat, she now tackles famous women from history. All four of them. Armed with acerbic wit, an extraordinary poker face and a bag of interval snacks, she takes us through a highly participatory alternative history of the greatest hits of womankind. Shouldnt take too long, right? Her microphone is covered in protective film as the stage is coated in muck while her submissive assistants, Samir Kennedy and Rhys Hollis, shuffle around her, abiding by her barked orders. Our host is simultaneously hedonistic and manipulative, yet for all the shows absurdity, Post Popular is insanely slick, and McCormick is in complete control of both her body and her gross volatility. Between riotous high-energy dance segments, she is caustically candid, riffing off awkward icebreakers and dipping into existential dread. Then without a breath shes Boudica, were the Roman army, and shes storming through us wielding a knife. Good lord, are we kept on our toes.

As in Triple Threat, she finds the perfect pop song for every occasion: Anne Boleyns execution? Basement Jaxxs Wheres Your Head At? is a no-brainer. Post Popular is as trashy and crass as it is honest and exposing. Searching deep inside herself for inspiration, McCormick doesnt just rip up the rulebook; she grabs some popcorn, sets it on fire and watches the whole thing burn.

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