Susie McCabe

Susie McCabe

Runner-up in Scottish Comedian Of The Year 2012
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Susie McCabe: Domestic Disaster

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

For a woman whose 16-year relationship just ended, Susie McCabe’s looking surprisingly chipper. 

She beams with a cheery grin as she tells us of the trials and tribulations of having to move back in with her parents at the age of 39 and get back into a dating game that’s changed out of all recognition since she last played it.

It’s a smile that says ‘you’ll never believe what these idiots did this time’ as she paints a vivid portrait of her Glaswegian family, especially the embarrassing, demanding, stifling mother who most definitely plays favourites with her two children. McCabe’s tale of sneaking back into the house after an all-nighter places you right there, this middle-aged woman forced to act like an errant teenager again.

Meanwhile, the realities of her parents’ long marriage are also probed, looking at the petty niggles and small victories that have become the rituals they now live by.

Every scene is familiar and relatable, and she draws loud, rolling laughs of recognition for the scenarios aided by some nifty phrase-making, coining little poetic gems from the mundanity.

The second major strand in Domestic Disaster is just as universal: the loss of romance as a new relationship moves from dating to cohabitation. She expresses jokey anger towards her new partner, but it’s of amused exasperation rather than anything too bitter, as she remains resolutely upbeat.

McCabe is unceremonious in her approach to the topic without being too blunt, just as she was on the familial observations. Every routine is delivered with a compelling rhythm that builds as she seeks the precise ridiculousness in each scenario, even if the audience quickly gets the gist of what’s coming. 

The third and final section of the show concerns sexism, reaping some seeds she sowed earlier in the hour, about internalised misogyny and how often the most corrosive behaviour comes from other women.

She’s worked in three male-dominated environments: in a gay bar, as an electrician on building sites, and as a stand-up comic, which gives her some first-hand experience here that’s slightly different from the usual narrative. Though with feminism such a hot topic, there are others who cover this ground – especially when it comes to the poisonous influence of the superficial, image-obsessed Kardashians and the glossy magazines they appear in – with more aplomb.

But when it comes to finding and describing the peculiarities of home life, McCabe is a Domestic Goddess, not a disaster.

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Published: 8 Aug 2019

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