Lucy McCormick’s Triple Threat: ‘The way it plays out is really absurd’

Lucy McCormick's Triple Threat. Picture: Richard Davenport

Lucy McCormick's Triple Threat. Picture: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport, The Other Richard

The Homerton performer’s show is back for a week in December, with a modern and “ridiculous” retelling of the New Testament

Now that December is here, it’s officially *Christmas*.

Not actual Christmas, of course: Commercial Christmas, otherwise known as the annual culmination period of the discussion around when it’s ok to put up your tree. More importantly though, it’s “Nativity Season” and parents everywhere are feigning excitement over their child being cast as the manger.

But if you’re looking for an alternativity (coined that term myself), Lucy McCormick might be up your street. Back by popular demand, her sell-out show Triple Threat was a hit at Edinburgh Fringe last year and transferred to the Soho Theatre. It returns here this week. Triple Threat isn’t technically a nativity, as it’s a retelling of the whole New Testament, but it did have festive origins.

“The beginning of this show was an alternative Christmas, an adult Christmas cabaret type thing,” says McCormick, who lives in Homerton. “I thought it would be really funny to do a little nativity in 10 minutes.”

Starting off at nightclubs and gay bars like The Glory and Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, McCormick’s show has evolved into a full-length spectacle.

“The show is this ridiculous attempt at telling this really epic story and looking at these huge themes – regret, passion, guilt, death – but obviously, the way that this plays out is really absurd and done through pop culture references and modern day references.

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“It’s definitely a feminist take on the story and it’s also a queering.

“There are a few lines in there that are remarks on whether there are enough strong roles for women in the story and things like that, but I think it’s more about me making a fool of myself and my narrow love of pop culture.”

Helped out by two “boys dressed in matching Calvin Klein underwear sets”, she acts all the main roles, singing and dancing her way through the entire story.

“[The fact that] I’m taking on all the roles myself allows for some kind of gender discourse and for me in a woman’s body, even to attempt to achieve the story becomes ridiculous really.

“The show’s primary conversation isn’t about unpicking or undermining the New Testament and I think that’s really obvious for people when they see the show, to the extent that I’ve actually got some Christian following now, and I’m really pleased about that!”

McCormick says that it’s more of an unpicking of pop culture and its insular and narrow view, than religion. She charts her love-hate relationship with the music she hears on the radio and the reach to achieve the Instagram-able image, “but also really failing because that’s sort of my life!

“I love it but I’m completely aware, as most people are, that it’s a little bit destroying my soul at the same time.”

Transferring from nightclub to theatre audiences can be a tricky shift – they are two different spaces with two different agendas, and for many it doesn’t translate, but McCormick’s reviews are testament to her success in this conversion.

“I’ve been so pleasantly surprised at how people have been enjoying this work and that’s across nightclubs, on the more comedy or cabaret setting or in theatres, probably different bits of the show land in different ways, and it’s really pleasing that it can work across these genres.”

She credits some of her show’s success to these smaller venues and clubs, where she has been able to develop her craft. Places like The Glory and Hackney Showroom are known for their openness in what they programme, and it’s this that gives the opportunity for interesting work to grow.

“That willingness to just try new stuff out because they are atmospheres in which you can do that, and they’re not just about capital and money and having ‘products’,” she says. “These are spaces that are really about nurturing artists and creativity, and that’s amazing.”

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat runs at the Soho Theatre from December 11 – 16.