mon 15/07/2024

Lucy Porter, Quarterhouse, Folkestone review - confessions of an ex-Brownie | reviews, news & interviews

Lucy Porter, Quarterhouse, Folkestone review - confessions of an ex-Brownie

Lucy Porter, Quarterhouse, Folkestone review - confessions of an ex-Brownie

Relentlessly upbeat show

Lucy Porter loved her time in the Brownies

Scouting and Girlguiding may seem awfully old-fashioned to some, yet many youngsters are still keen to join the Scout movement. Be Prepared (the Scout motto) was inspired by Lucy Porter's two children joining the Beavers, its youngest iteration.

Beavers lends itself to any number of filthy jokes – and, yes, Porter goes there, with a couple of good'uns – but her offspring take it very seriously, as she once did, when she was a Brownie. She remembers her Brown Owl fondly, the times they spent camping and trying to gain badges. Everyone got a Hostess badge – “basically making an old person a cup of tea, whether they wanted it or not” – while the Traveller and Pony Trekker badges were for the “posh kids whose families had money”.

She recalls one camping trip where her pack had to learn how to splint a broken leg, and Porter was the unfortunate “patient”, even down to not being allowed a drink of water because as Brown Owl (clearly a stickler for verisimilitude) said sternly, “you may need an operation later”.

Porter weaves an entertaining tale and, in a show that appears to meander at times, each anecdote begins to make sense as she draws matters to a close. The tales of Edinburgh Fringes past, her irrational irritation with Bear Grylls (UK Chief Scout), the odds and sods that end up in her handbag and her attempt at hypno-birthing all slot into place in the last 15 minutes.

The narrative of the show is not, however, rose-tinted views of childhood spent frying sausages on a campfire, but rather that two of the most important things she learned in Brownies – to be calm and competent – haven't necessarily stayed with her in her adult life, which she admits can be a bit messy, at least on the domestic front. And while Porter, in making several references to her home life, is the antithesis of a political comedian, that doesn't mean there's isn't the occasional waspish political insight as she describes how a major disappointment of her adult life is that politicians of all stripes are just so ruddy useless these days, at a time when we need them more than ever to be clever and competent.

Porter is chatty and inclusive in a relentlessly upbeat two hours, a pleasing antidote to comedy shows filled with millennial angst.

  • Lucy Porter is touring until 6 June
The narrative is not rose-tinted views of childhood spent frying sausages on a campfire


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters