The Garden Of Unearthly Delights – The Vagabond, Tue 19 Feb.
Dysfunctional relationships, gender stereotypes, feminism, toxic masculinity, ageism, online dating, social media – you could write a thesis on Judith Lucy v Men. But with the skill of a veteran comedian she turns serious stuff into laughing matters. Judith Lucy bares all about much of her own life in a story that could easily turn sad and sentimental, but she keeps a professional distance from the emotional impact relationships with men has had on her, enabling her audience to laugh with her, but still feel close enough to care. And she wants us to care – at least enough to cast a vote at show’s end as to whether she should give up men altogether.
If half of what Judith says is true she has indeed had a bum deal with straight white men, and they come out of this show looking pretty much like bastards. But she’s not bitter about it; she’s quite resilient in fact, and willing to concede that there may be something about her that invites relationship disaster.
Much of the show is about sex but Judith Lucy has a way of addressing the lewd and lascivious with a touch of class that makes sex part of a larger more important story – the desire to be wanted and how to cope when relationships go wrong.
She delivers much of her material with this wonderful brand of sarcasm that draws the humour out of situations without whinging, and it adds a keen edge to her story telling. Lots of audience members get to join in the discussion, and by show’s end everyone cares about what happens to her next.
Amid the laugher and the joy however there is also a sense of pathos. Great that she can makes us all laugh along with her about her failed attempts at love, but perhaps she’d rather not be alone, treading the boards night after night getting laughs from her failures? But that only Judith Lucy can know.
In the meantime we all get to go and enjoy a really funny show that is engaging and full of raw humanity.
(This review also published on The Clothesline.)