Lucinda Spragg has a (self published) book to promote and if there is anything she is good at, it’s self-promotion.
An Evening with Lucinda Spragg is a high energy examination of the life and motivations of a contrarian provocateur. It is a knowing exposure of the most ridiculous aspects of the Twitter/Media interface that has proved such a fertile breeding ground for such characters. For those of us who spend far too much time online, there were nods to dozens of social media memes that we might recognise where our saner, offline contemporaries might be left in the dark.
The humour in this – very funny – piece comes from the gap between Lucinda’s understanding of her role in the world and that of the audiences. She is clearly an intelligent idiot. By which I mean that she sort of knows exactly what she is doing even as she pursues the most idiotic of arguments to the full – simply for the endorphins and financial gain of it all.
As Lucinda, Millie gives a highly energic performance. She is full of swagger and Joie De Vivre. As such the whole hour is highly enjoyable and watchable. It also has a couple of interesting surprises along the way, unexpected in this one woman show.
However, there are times when I wasn’t sure I felt the argument this show was making were as urgent or necessary as the satire implied. While it is – of course – true that there are many out there making a living out of being objectionable to the kind of audience that comes to see fringe theatre on a Friday night, there was little examination of the audiences who are attracted to the real life Spraggs. As such, the cruelty aimed at the Lucindas could sometimes leak over to them with no examination of how and why people feel left out of the modern world enough to choose to kick against such things as vaccines.
Such unanswered questions leave the piece with a somewhat superficial air. It also felt, frankly, a little too comfortable. Yes, Laurence Fox is absolutely a laughable wind bag. But some of Lucinda’s internet rantings could easily, with just a few word changes, have come from a left contrarian such as Russell Brand or Owen Jones. Taking on those targets might well have given Millie – clearly an excellent writer and satirist – a more in depth target with more room for the audience to not simply fall into our own comfort zones.
This was a fun diversion and an enjoyable show. I laughed – a lot. But I did so from within my own comfortable, lefty, middle class bubbl