Triple Threat: has the Fringe lost its ability to shock?

When people believe in nothing, they may turn to showbiz, argues Lucy McCormick’s New Testament trash cabaret. But the bigger question is can anything shock us any more?

New Testament
Project Arts Centre
★★★

Is nothing sacred? Skimming the New Testament for material, making queer cabaret its religion and adopting pop culture for its scripture, Lucy McCormick’s riotously trashy performance could be described, most quaintly, as a sacrilegious act. In post-Catholic Dublin, to the hoots of new disciples, this is pushing at a wide-open door. The more arch comment of the show, though, is that if people believe in nothing, they’ll put their faith in the iconography of showbiz.

“I just want to be famous,” McCormick mock confesses, enacting her messiah complex with the assistance of two buff backing-dancer angels, an occasional sex aid, and cascading anointments of pungent grocery products over liberally exposed flesh.

As with much queer burlesque, long since strip-mined by the mainstream, a parody of pop performance is now pretty indistinguishable from the real thing. As McCormick sings Lady Gaga's Born this Way to a Mattel doll of the infant Christ, you're more struck by the fine quality of her voice than more subversive intent, while the lascivious routines of her excellent dancers are devotional offerings towards the pop idols that inspire them. Mary Magdalene's sombre Justin Bieber serenade is a hoot, and the notorious Doubting Thomas episode, in which one dancer vigorously investigates McCormick's holiest of holies, is designed to scandalise. But rebelling against an exhausted force hardly feels dangerous. Where are those threats?
Until Sat 23

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