Susie McCabe: Let's Get Physical (3 stars)

Susie McCabe: Let's Get Physical

credit: Marc Millar

A promising future beckons for this scathing and self-deprecating Glaswegian

After her pill popping-eschewing debut, The Drugs Don't Work, rising Glaswegian stand-up Susie McCabe has made further lifestyle changes, begrudgingly trying to get fit and eat right after a promise to her grandmother on her deathbed. Like her previous show, there's a sizeable tranche of nostalgic observational material, about the limited East End diet her parents raised her on. But McCabe's true strength is as a storyteller, finely building up the ludicrous details of the panic which the priest's arrival inflicts on the McCabes, and adroitly spinning a charity gig enquiry into the unlikely, behind-the-scenes debates of an Orange Lodge booking a Catholic lesbian comedian.

Another strong suit, as evidenced by the enthusiastic reception she received for two sold-out weekend performances of this show, is the way she works a crowd. Wearing her socialist principles on her sleeve, she derives plenty of mischief from anyone in the audience she perceives to have an exploitative, 'Tory' occupation. She charms the room with a mixture of extreme self-deprecation and bullish, brook-no-shit incredulity, railing against the health-conscious, hill-walking lesbian cliché she's being turned into against her will.

The real ghost in the machine of this show is not her grandmother but her fitter girlfriend, the friction of their contrasting nutrition and exercise regimes established from their third date. With a new baby niece putting even greater pressure on McCabe to boost her long-term survival chances, there's an endearing but never mawkish thread of familial affection running through Let's Get Physical. Although guilty of playing to the gallery occasionally and falling back on stereotypes, McCabe is quick-witted and her scathing ad-libs are devastating when required. Still developing as a comic even as her waistline shrinks, Susie McCabe's future certainly looks promising.

Susie McCabe: Let's Get Physical is at The Venue, Perth, Sat 13 May, and then touring; seen at The Stand, Glasgow.


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