REVIEW of Northern Soul: Friendly, frank show with academic flair from Lucy Porter

Bridgwater Mercury: LUCY Porter: She's got soul but she's not a soldier... LUCY Porter: She's got soul but she's not a soldier...

WITH trademark friendliness, frankness and academic flair, comedian Lucy Porter’s Saturday show at Bridgwater Arts Centre, ‘Northern Soul’, ploughed the murky depths of what it means to feel alien in your hometown.

Yet Porter’s latest tour-piece was far from confined to the teenage angst of feeling dislocated from everything around you.

At its core was the complexity, contradiction and misunderstanding that comes with the concept of identity, and how a bad one can haunt a person and a place.

Northern Soul’s plot was well-crafted. Fired up by socialist polemic, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, and awoken to the North-South divide amid the rupturing of Thatcher’s Britain, saw Lucy eschew the money-centric culture of London. Her birthplace, Croydon, lacked the strong identity she yearned for.

Her father, who’d grown up in Northern Ireland’s sectarian troubles, would protest in his unmistakeable accent, when asked, that he was from Glasgow.

Her mother had escaped a Blitz-bombed Coventry. Porter backed away from both inherited identities.

The music and art of ‘Madchester’ – and Morrissey, “who exploded into my world” – proved an awakening that would take the pint-sized Porter northwards … only to find southerners had also ‘escaped’ to find their spiritual home up north.

Ten years of northerly adventuring and dicing with the risky business of playing up to regional stereotypes, and Lucy concluded:

“It’s hard to get away from where we come from ... it’s really sad I’d felt too good to come from Croydon.

"But next year I’m doing something very special – spearheading Croydon’s 14th bid for city status!”

DAISY BLACKLOCK

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