It could well be that the Triple Threat here is a challenge to Sexual Modesty, Religious Reverence, and possibly Theatrical Convention. Not that it is inaccessible in its experimentalism, far from it; more like the Progressive Working Class Entertainment that Duckie aspire to create, and with whom Lucy has previously worked.
Whatever you may take from the piece, it is highly unlikely that the preoccupations you might have you entered with will remain long in your mind – it’s simply too bold, self-confident and entertaining.
The show takes the form of a recreation of the New Testament by Lucy and two beautifully sculpted male dancer/performers: ‘Artists in their own right,’ as she tells us – although this one is most definitely her show. Her faux-earnest demeanour, combined with the silly, excessive and gleefully sacrilegious material, makes this a very funny and wholly engaging experience.
The sheer force of her persona wins the audience over in the first minute, and she has us in the palm of her hand, where we remain until the final, titillating ascension to heaven. She is also – actually – a really good dancer, singer, and performer (the original meaning of the term ‘triple threat’, in a theatrical context, being a person who excels at all three skills). The piece is punctuated by a series of well-chosen pop standards, which reflect the sentiment of chapters in the story. The structural composition is finely crafted, though the intelligent design, like the industry of a duck’s legs, is hidden beneath the surface.
This was one of those shows that made me keenly interested to know the history of artist/perpetrator, Lucy McCormick, who before this almost-solo outing made a name for herself with outré experimental theatre/live art company GETINTHEBACKOFTHEVAN. Was she ‘born this way’, or did an unusual combination of experiences lead to her becoming such a ballsy, charismatic and, quite frankly, shameless exhibitionist? She gives the impression of being an X Factor contestant radicalised by subversive cultural politics. As we left I heard some people murmuring about ‘shock value’, and it certainly must have the potential to discomfort those with conservative values. But it’s too pointedly interesting and intelligent to be dismissed as simple attention-seeking.
I’d describe the whole effect of the show – including its notorious Doubting Thomas moment of revelation – as being ‘sex positive’, with the potential to help dissolve any shame one might feel about one’s sensual body and sexual proclivities – although bearing in mind that these performers are all young, fit and attractive (always easier to get your kit off if you are).
Towards the end there is a curious few moments in which she screams and writhes on the floor for long enough to suggest somewhere, deep down, the piece is expressive of some genuine pain. Or maybe it was just in preparation for the hilarious crowd-surfing finale. Either way, this is a deservedly a sell out show with the power to reverberate on a great many levels.
Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat was shortlisted for a Total Theatre Award 2016 in the Emerging Artist category.