Being a hugely popular act is not a new phenomenon for Susie McCabe, whose impressive résumé includes four sell-out shows at the Glasgow International Comedy Festival. And yet, as she drily points out to us, she’s still relegated to a glorified shipping container – later, when we hear a glass recycling bin being emptied, she quips that her ride’s arrived. The contrast between her sell-out status and tiny venue is only heightened by the desperate Assembly staff, whose pleas to move up are only taken seriously when yet another group of people shuffle in. McCabe takes it in her stride, however, and the stuffiness of the venue is completely forgotten when she starts her set.
The reason for this, dear reader, is that McCabe has a really uncanny ability to make you forget everything except the story she’s telling you. Perhaps the highlight of the show is the retelling of her bedtime routine, as she exploits a level of ridiculousness which is enthralling and hysterical in equal measure. However, she is equally deft in her execution of more sombre stories – all of her anecdotes seem to land, regardless of how seemingly earnest they are.
McCabe’s set is wonderfully cohesive, as it weaves effortlessly between her personal life and more general musings on internalised misogyny and third-wave feminism. You’d think the Kardashians would’ve been done to death by now, but somehow McCabe still finds new ways to be suitably scathing while also making very valid points about female role models – or lack thereof. The most successful parts of the piece, however, are her loving(?) portrayals of family members, from her hen-picked dad to layabout brother. There are definitely dynamics at play that we can all relate to, and this also extends to her uncomfortably accurate assessment of the way we lower our standards for long-term partners as opposed to new lovers.
Susie McCabe has created a show which walks the tightrope between seriousness and levity without ever losing its footing. There’s nothing more to be said, really; you’ll need to use your elbows to get a seat, though.