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Review: Life: LIVE! (Lucy Muck at Battersea Arts Centre)

Updated: Jul 13, 2021

Life: LIVE! Is Lucy Muck’s latest spectacle. And it is spectacular. It’s punchy, and awkward, and intimate, and crushingly sad, and uproariously uplifting, and more and more and more.

We’re here to witness Muck go through her debut album of original music, conceived as a key part of her attempt to go from fringe star to mega-famous household name. The show is so much more than the songs, but god-damn are they bangers. Let You Go was ringing through my head long after the lights went up, and the quality of the music, alongside the frenzied, virtuosic performance of Muck, is testament to her (so)many-stringed bow.

Muck is joined on-stage by her band who are swiftly and petulantly chided for an early timing hiccup which spoils her vision for a frictionless opening. The quickly-established feeling of being in the presence of an over-indulged not-quite-superstar follows us like lumpy glue throughout the show.

This is no detriment, of course, and perfectly encapsulates the demented performativity of the star-child who dances before us, desperate for any and all acclaim, afraid to be herself (for fear she’s not interesting enough) but so willing to put her body through the theatrical equivalent of ten gruelling rounds against one of the Fury brothers (likely Tyson). She contorts, carries, dances (on a pole at one point), climbs, kicks, jumps, belts, and falls, covered in paint, water, sweat, Tupperware, and a bit of glitter. Is there anything she can’t do? More appropriately, is there anything she won’t do, to win her audience’s applause?

Visual artist Morven Mulgrew is also under the spotlight, on-stage as Lucy’s stage-hand come technician come stress ball, and she has designed the whole thing. The props, the costumes, the set-pieces, the huge rucksack-supported-monster-head. Mulgrew has done a beautiful job, with her work described on the BAC website as ‘shonky-spectacular’, I can’t think of a more apt illustration.

The audience are encouraged to take photos and tweet during the show and there is an essay to be wrote there about the way our phones have changed our relationship to our day-to-day performances; with everyone always two seconds away from a video camera, our lives are permanently a click away from being Live! on someone’s Insta feed. I can see the all-consuming, anxiety-inducing expectation to constantly perform in everything Muck does. Though the expectation Muck piles on appears to be gratuitously self-induced, she skewers the feeling perfectly, in a desperately crumbling, yet overwhelmingly joyous hour of…whatever this is.

At the end of the show I overhear a group of four adults, giddily coaxing each other to go and get a picture with Muck. It's charming, and human, and shows that, at least amongst a spaced-out audience in Battersea, Lucy has achieved the superstar status that she so desperately covets.

Life: LIVE! is on until the 15th July, more information and tickets here.

Photo by Holly Revell

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