Brighton Fringe 2017
Lucy Hopkins wants to create a quick transformational ritual to unify the sacred feminine with the sacred masculine for the good of all humanity and the planet as a whole. Performed as work in progress to a late night festival audience, can we help her achieve her ambition?
The Priestess emerges from under the seats, retching at latecomers.
Her extraordinarily long black hair swings left then right to the rhythm of her long, sparkly and revealing gown. She extends her left arm, then her right arm. They are extraordinarily long arms.
But then nothing about Lucy Hopkins, a Gaulier and Lecoq trained clown, could be considered ordinary. Her face is remarkably mobile, her body angular yet fluid and she has a way with words and ideas that set her apart. I’ve seen few female performers with the ability to manipulate audience members with such gentleness and so few words (Jamie Woods and Frazer Hooper being good male examples.) 2014’s Le Foulard was a masterpiece both in conceit and execution, a hugely enjoyable and piercing swipe at the ego of the artist, performed with grace and gusto.
Shown as work in progress, Ambition develops some of the ideas explored in last year’s The Surprise Show, in which she invited people on stage to do very little, but just be. Now volunteers become more integral to the story, helping the Priestess perform her ritual.
She wants to harmonise Mythos, the divine feminine with Logos, the divine masculine; to reconcile the left side of the brain with right, to bring planet and people together.
In its current form, the action comprises a series of short scenes delineated by blackouts, as the ritual takes shape. A Theremin provides suitably spooky sound effects, there is summoning of energy and incantation-like asides at people coming and going (the venue is a bit of a free for all on a festival weekend.)
The main part of the ritual comprises what I can only term ‘sex of hands.’ A chap gamely penetrates the Priestess’s vaginal oracle (vaginacle – it could catch on) and wiggles his fingers ecstatically. His girlfriend patiently holds the resulting ‘baby.’
“We knew perfection was there all along” says Lucy, flanked by an audience chorus line as the ritual concludes. We’ve had a bit of a sing-song and watched a film of her grand-dad crooning. The message that we need to be kinder to one another and understand our differences comes through despite the silliness. Lucy may be a glorious idiot but everything she makes has purpose and integrity.
Of course it doesn’t all add up yet, timings go awry, a wig malfunctions hilariously and some vocalisations didn’t work for me, but a powerful woman is certainly evidenced here and I eagerly anticipate the finished show.