The Accidental Camp Comedy of LUCY — Review
Though I checked the time a good amount during the first half of Lucy, a new play written and directed by Erica Schmidt that starts out feeling like an unaired Girls episode, the second part redeemed itself by (accidentally?) offering something I hadn’t seen in a while: genuine camp. When single mother Mary (Brooke Bloom) hires the hippie-ish Ashling (Lynn Collins) to help out with her titular daughter shortly before the birth of her second child, the new sitter seems both too-good-to-be true and too-true-to-be-good: she’s nurturing and experienced—the amount of clients on her CV couldn’t possibly add up—but flashes glimpses of being too clingy and dismissive of Mary’s own parental skills.
As they bicker and circle around what they mean, the two women reveal themselves to be insufferable in their own way—Mary is a type-A nutjob; Ashling the worst kind of new age yogini—and the play’s first half allows this particular brand of brazen white womanhood to overstay its welcome, with little sense of critique or humor. Then, as Schmidt loses control of both her direction and script, what has the contours of a psycho-nanny thriller quickly becomes something of a late-stage Bette Davis extravaganza, Ashling’s demeanor and obsessive tendencies becoming harder to ignore. (I suspect letting someone else direct might’ve resulted in a production that allows its ridiculousness to soar).
Like a grizzly bear with a fish, Collins (who could pass for 32, is actually 45, and plays even older here) slams each of her lines against the proverbial stone and eats their every last piece, gutsily swinging between passive-aggressive remarks and aggressive-aggressive directives, her performance growing aptly wilder as the story flies off the rails. Once it is settled that it is not a great play, nor an effective production of what could be a fun exercise in camp, Collins rises to fill the ludicrous gaps left by the direction, though Bloom’s hysterical, climactic, “How do you think I felt, coming home and seeing that SOUP?” is as lip sync ready as they come. Let’s revisit this in 10 years when RuPaul buys the Minetta Lane from Audible and stages drag-only performances.
Lucy is in performance through February 25, 2023 at the Minetta Lane Theatre on Minetta Lane in New York City. For tickets and more information, visit here.