The Life of Lucy McCormick: LIVE! at Battersea Arts Center
Lucy McCormick becomes an aspiring pop icon as she presents Lucy Muck’s debut album, Raising the Roof (and the Floor!) In this subversive pop concert at the Battersea Arts Center. Together with decorator and costume designer Morven Mulgrew, and a band on stage, McCormick finds herself reflecting on loneliness and fame, as she tries to “find herself” through an increasingly absurd series of songs, often gloomy or self-deprecating. (and the occasional dance break for good measure).
McCormick rose to fame in the contemporary performance arena with his previous shows Triple threat and Popular message. His character on stage is often fiery, confrontational. She introduces her fellow interpreters / collaborators, before dismissing or undermining them. But something happened to Lucy during the lockdown. There’s still all of those old things going on, but she seems more lost, desperate to get attention. His album features songs which, unlike the previous finesse and the careful spectacle of his musical numbers, are less precise. The chaos is still there, but it is less structured. The words are often lost in the echoes of the speakers which are a little too loud. At other times, the performance is calm, almost meditative. In her act ‘Rain’, she takes a deep shower at the back of the Great Hall. She runs backstage, mumbles into her microphone, walks through the wrong door, or asks her Mulgrew dresser to “forget the wheels.” In her previous job, despite the chaos, she felt totally in control of the whole. It’s different this time. There is more parity between us and her. It’s quite charming.
Particularly poignant are the monologues or pieces of text / conversation that she opens with the audience. She asks us how we’re doing, what we did during the lockdown (after performing an impressive pole dance routine that she’s probably learned over the past twelve months). It is aimed at the space community. Invites us, everyone in space, to come together again at some point, recognizing the impracticality. In doing so, she draws attention to the importance of coming together. Many of us have spent a year with more of ourselves and our own thoughts than ever before. What do we do with all these discoveries now that we’re together again? A given crowd only breathes together for a little while. That’s not to say the whole show is a dark affair, quite the opposite. It is littered with humor, scandalous spectacle.
Mulgrew’s costume constructions are extraordinary. Wonderfully pompous, ridiculous, for all the right reasons. The climax is during a moment of real loss of hope, as McCormick crawls under the stage floor into the Great Hall. She mops a bit there, before lifting her head through a hole in the middle and taking a stand as the whole floor heaves in a quirky ball gown.
As she climbs to the top of a lighting scaffolding, the curtains around all the windows in the Great Hall rise, and the bright summer evening light floods and fills the air. Church organs accompany the number, and the whole atmosphere is heavenly. The audience roared for an encore. The whole evening is totally delicious. As she stands in the middle of what I can only describe as a huge black trash bag, which fills most of the stage, it gently fills with air and wraps around her like a beanbag giant that swells. It cushions her, as she sort of tries to resist it.
The lights come on and no one really leaves. People hang out at their tables with drinks and friends. It is quietly joyful.
Comment from Joseph Winer
Battersea Arts Center is once again welcoming audiences in person for the first time in 16 months with Life: LIVE !. Originally scheduled for Spring 2020, award-winning live performance artist Lucy McCormick (Triple Threat, Post Popular) has created a new site-specific version for the Great Hall. Ahead of her next lead role in NT / Emma Rice’s Wuthering Heights, the subversive live-concert extravaganza will feature Lucy’s original debut album on fame, self-care, and redemption, and is her group’s world premiere. live.
Created by Lucy McCormick in collaboration with Morven Mulgrew
Performers Lucy McCormick & Morven Mulgrew
Musicians Dave Page & Chloe Rianna
Producer Philippa Barr
Written, Composed and Produced Joe Reeves
Writing and lyrics Lucy McCormick, Ted Rogers and Samir Kennedy
Scenography and costumes Morven Mulgrew
Lighting designer and production manager Sorcha Mae Stott-Srtzala
Assistant producer Ella Gamble
Marketing & Web Designer Daniel Hughes
Original producer Karl Taylor
Location: Battersea Arts Center, Lavender Hill, SW11 5TN
Ticket office: 020 7223 2223
Spring season: bac.org.uk/