For anyone still finding it difficult adjusting to the unseemly burden of having to dress reasonably nicely and occasionally venture further afield than our five-kilometre bubble, living national treasures Judith Lucy and Denise Scott’s first post-lockdown show, Still Here, might just be the emotional reckoning you’re looking for. Part-confessional, part-exorcism, it’s all about the unruly descent into the madness of the mundane, aka the last two years.
Directed by theater whizz Stephen Nicolazzo, the show’s introduced via a scratchy vintage TV-style video. Projected onto the vast curtained backdrop of the Arts Centre’s Playhouse stage we see the pair decked out in (presumably fake) fur coats and arriving in a limo. They then take to two cozy armchairs perched onstage, either side of an ostentatious harp. After a spot of their trademark crowd work – props to the exceedingly chatty man who felt the need to share that he’d just lost a tooth at the footy – they set about divulging way too much information about how their lockdowns went. Expect a lot about unshaven body parts, small hours toilet breaks served with a G&T, and the excitement of arthritis-related medical trips. Also expect a lot of humorous props and withering looks. There’s even a fun bit about who had it tougher: a sex-starved Lucy shielding solo (who steals the show with a saucy bubble buddy joke), or Scotty, who had to put up with her hubby of 41 years 24/7?
The duo are as droll as ever, and while there’s nothing revealing here, it’s always a genuine joy to spend an hour in the company of this wisecracking pair. Particularly when Lucy roasts Scotty with a bit of beef over their disastrously curtailed Adelaide Festival run. A trio of dance breakouts – one liturgically themed, another a crochet-wearing exercise number and closing with an ol’ razzmatazz, cabaret-style hurrah – feel a bit extraneous. But there are bitterly funny truth bombs dropped here, about “fuckwit” protestors, the vagaries of the wellness industry, lockdown crushes and the hysteria of the void we all stared into. Lucy also provides a sharp reminder that many of these jokes only make sense in Melbourne. Which is why it’s so good to see them back on the Arts Center stage.