Lucy McCormick smeared with blood and holding a knife

I had fun. At least that’s the start of the review that Lucy McCormick dictates towards the end of her frenzied and unpredictable one woman cabaret variety spoken word alt drag act show.

I might have missed a few words in that description of the show, which McCormick spouts out Polonious-like at the start of the piece but only because I’m still processing what happened in between those two points.

On the one hand it’s definitely cabaret – there are songs, impressions, tricks. On the other hand it’s deranged, obscene, and extraordinarily entertaining – like if the Royal Variety Performance water supply got spiked with LSD, and it was sponsored by Pornhub.

We’re encouraged – no, forced – to be intimate and to becoming part of Lucy’s performance, on the conceit that her show was originally meant to feature her friends but Arts Council cuts and Covid conspired to make it just her on stage. Instead of her planned group show, she takes on multiple roles and dragoons various audience members into helping out, including in some less than glamourous admin roles.

That much at least seems nonsense; there’s little chance McCormick wants to share the limelight, and she delights in keeping us guessing and keeping us watching. And she is a great performer: her voice is far better than it should be to be thrown away on gag songs, and she has terrific stage presence and energy. She puts her all in to the show.

So I can’t really tell you why she dresses as a tree at the start, or later pretends to be a cat. I can’t quite explain what makes the groan-some one liners transcendently funny. And I won’t spoil the surprises of some of the more outré moments, other than to say if you’re sensitive do pay more than the usual attention to the content warnings.

But I can honestly, happily say: I had fun.