The Assembly George Square Studio audience is already wild in anticipation of stand-up star Susie McCabe, something she is immediately grateful for as she enters the stage to raucous cheering. Kicking off the night with aplomb, even her crowd work – something that can kill pace for a lesser comic – is quick-witted and energetic and has the audience howling.
McCabe quickly expands on the title of the show – Femme Fatality – explaining that she wants to examine womanhood and her relationship with that notion. And so we delve into an oral autobiography, beginning in the year of her birth – 1980 – and looking at that decade, both culturally and personally. She hones in on the idea of being different as a child and has the incredible knack of being simultaneously self-deprecating in her remarks and self-assured in her delivery. The focus becomes gay representation in the media growing up with boisterous re-enactments of ‘scandalous’ TV storylines in Eastenders and Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Even if we weren’t familiar with the programmes, McCabe hilariously points to the ridiculous outcry surrounding them and her camp impressions have us cackling.
The set is also laced with musings on body image and ideas of beauty and femininity, charted through her childhood and adolescence to her first job as the only woman on a building site. Throughout, her most climactic punchlines earn applause, and even though the throughline is the performer’s fear of failure in her parents’ eyes, things never become morose because every anecdote is concluded with a killer gag.
Susie McCabe is both a magnetic storyteller and a gifted joke writer at the top of her game. Despite the fear of failure, she speaks of; we are in no doubt that she couldn’t be further from it.
‘Susie McCabe: Femme Fatality’ runs until 27 Aug 2023 at Assembly George Square Studios at 20:35