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Susie McCabe: Born Believer – Assembly George Square

There’s some well-trodden territory covered in this show – Scotland is not the same as England, and it’s true that I’ve never seen anyone drink a half-pint up here (it exists, Susie McCabe points out, but it comes with a colouring sheet and crayons). Alcohol, mind you, was a running theme – there was a recollection about a pub crawl she had organised for her father, which derailed very quickly after he was content to stay at the first pub. But perhaps the most detailed story was about a hen night, which was problematic for her to say the least, thanks to the embarrassing behaviour of others, told in excruciating detail.

Susie McCabe
Susie McCabe

McCabe is quite content for people to find laughter in her misfortune: she’s from the East End of Glasgow, one of the most economically deprived areas in Europe, with a life expectancy a few years below that of the Scottish mean average. She was also aware she was attracted to girls early on – her mother had signed her up for the Brownies, which she loved (ahem). But being a working-class Brownie in Glasgow meant some absurd, if innovative, ways to complete ‘Brownie Badges’.

Glasgow is, at least, diverse, which is more than be said for Cheltenham, in Gloucestershire, where her brother lives – it’s “so white it’s sponsored by bleach”. The ‘let’s be dead serious for a moment’ came in the form of a call for love and acceptance in a world where young people are still being thrown out of their family home just for being queer. There’s a likeable charm in McCabe’s enthusiastic and ever-engaging show, which covers a lot of ground in an hour but never feels rushed or unclear.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Susie McCabe is what you might call an ‘optimistic cynic’, adept at ranting about the flaws and f*k ups of society and humanity but with a warm cheeriness that tugs at the firmest, coldest heartstrings. Now in her 40th year, however, she has decided to ditch the cynicism completely and go for all-out positivity. Is this even possible?

SUSIE MCCABE: Born Believer
Assembly George Square Studios, Studio Two
3rd – 28th August 2022

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