Edinburgh review: Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat (Underbelly)
The theatre maker retells the New Testament in the filthiest, most rambunctious way possible
You know what the New Testament really lacks? Strong roles for women. And anal fingering. Luckily, Lucy McCormick is here to remedy both those problems.
Triple Threat is definitely not for the easily offended – there were walk-outs in the show I saw – but that's kind of the point. Performing as a monstrously larger-than-life, sexed-up art-pop star, McCormick takes something sacred and jizzes all over it, essentially. It's an exercise in extreme bad taste, intended to both satirise the hollow-eyed bump-and-grind plastic sex that's become a mainstay of mainstream culture, and to smash past it by taking everything to grotesque, absurd extremes. It's one of the most audacious things I've seen on stage, and I adored it.
McCormick, flanked by two hunky men in tiny Calvin Kleins, offers the New Testament in three parts, swapping outfits to take on all the main roles. As the three wise men, in bumless denim hotpants, they ride around to Christina Aguilera's "Dirty" and throw Gold Blend, frankfurters and meringues ("myrrh-ingues", geddit?) at the audience; a wobbly sausage duly bounced off my bonce.
More consumables are thrown when McCormick dons a wig to play Mary Magdalene, anointing Jesus' tomb with oils and spices: here, that's her gyrating while singing Justin Bieber's "Sorry", and being doused in Hellman's mayonnaise and streams of salt. It's messy and gross, but McCormick and her athletic male dancers are actually also all extremely technically proficient; this isn't cringey bad twerking, but music-video worthy hotness, taken to parodic extremes.
McCormick as Jesus makes out with Judas on the floor for an obscene, microphoned age, but skips over the crucifixion (probably for the best). She gives herself, as the Virgin Mary, an extra scene of lamentation, because the women don't get enough to do in the New Testament. McCormick, in her sexed-up persona, is both sending up the sort of vacant, fourth-wave, pop-feminism statements that get blandly bandied around by celebrities, as well as smuggling in a more serious point here about the representation of women in our narratives: the old ‘mother or whore' stereotype goes way, way back.
Still, her medium is always outrage not analysis. McCormick appears to have no boundaries whatsoever; her skimpy underwear goes rapidly astray, and this is a woman entirely comfortable walking round the audience with her vagina fully on view. The scene where Doubting Thomas feels Jesus' stigmata holes becomes what really does look like a very intimate fingering session. No holes barred.
This show will make a lot of people very uncomfortable. Heck, it ought to make everyone at least a bit uncomfortable, before prompting proper honking, snorting laughter-as-release. And definitely don't take your parents. But if you like your taste boundaries comprehensively smashed and your performances unrepentantly out-there, then Triple Threat is a minor miracle.
Triple Threat is at Underbelly Cowgate at 8.10pm, until 28 August (not 15, 22)