Kate Lucas is maybe the best argument for calling a guitar an axe, and that’s because she wields hers like a weapon. Her show is fifty-or-so minutes of comedy songs, partitioned by short forays into stand-up. It’s here that the show is at its weakest. There’s a fun but ultimately loose through-line about taking a fatal moment of defecation, (needs to be seen) that doesn’t quite work, and the laughs are fewest in the space between songs.
It’s as soon she starts strumming she comes into her own, and it becomes obvious why you might liken a guitar to a medieval killing tool, for all the confidence it seems to bestow her. The slightly awkward, but serviceable stand-up is replaced by a vibrant, unique performer. It’s not just that the music makes up for the verbal material, it’s more that everything she says is smarter, and funnier from behind a guitar.
The difference is stark. It’s not by any means that the connecting tissue is bad, in fact much of it is charming and likeable, it’s just very obviously a vehicle to get us from song to song. In any case, the songs work fine as self-contained musings about anxiety and failure – with occasional forays into murderous rage.
In the music, her self-aware, affable egotism comes into its own, threaded through cheery, tuneful acoustic rock songs. She has a knack for memorable choruses, and a fantastic talent for fitting the most unlikely and verbose phrases into relatively simple song structures.
There’s a number of highlight songs, but making a Frankenstein boyfriend out of dead celebrities was a favourite, along with a melodious ‘fuck you’ to office work that sidesteps cliché admirably. She’s obviously a good song-writer, and the infectious tunes combine with hilarious, sometimes risky, lyrics to great effect. She’s got maybe the best – likely the only to be fair – use of an awkward silence you’ll ever hear halfway through a song.
I was thoroughly buoyed by Kate Lucas’ show, and I can guarantee you’ll walk away from it feeling a little better about all your failures and mistakes.