Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit | Review by Steve Bennett

Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit

Note: This review is from 2016

Review by Steve Bennett

This is as strong an hour of straight, unfussy stand-up as you’ll see on the Fringe. Zoe Lyons is on top of her game: in command of her material, her audience and her stage.

She’s not cracking open a new treasure chest of ideas here, with routines based on religion and national stereotypes and teaching your parents how to use new technology – but she absolutely nails them.

Similarly, the theme of being a misfit, she acknowledges, is not exactly a huge revelation to come from a comedian, however keenly she has felt it ever since childhood, when realising she was gay while also suffering stress-related alopecia.

To add to the pressure, Lyons was taught by nuns in Ireland, leading to a discussion of Catholicism that culminates in the delightful phrase ‘starjump for Christ’ as well as more pointed comments about handing your moral compass over to a Church.

Every story is brought to live with faultless delivery. She speaks with verve and easy humour, rarely making any of this sound like ‘material’, even though every story, every opinion is perfectly formed, with incidents brought to life with expertly performed sketchlets (And this might be coincidence, but when she adopts the voice of a whiney sexist, it doesn’t half sound like Andrew Lawrence)

She makes everything accessible: who else could suggest the Prime Minister is a shapeshifting lizard, and make it seem like a perfectly reasonable assertion, and not the rantings of a madwoman?

The hour encompasses Brexit – she has an Irish passport and Dutch wife, so she’s all right, Jacques – fly-tipping, political correctness, and being harassed by a beauty salon owner. The stories and observations are personal, but there’s always some measure of social commentary. Even that persistent salon hustler was encountered during an ill-advised honeymoon to Egypt, a county not renowned for its tolerance of homosexuality.

And there’s almost always a subtle pull back to her main theme, whether or not you realise it: for what is national identity or religion or politics, if not a way of feeling like you belong to something bigger. Same could be said of a comedy audience, and if Lyons carries on with this level of consistency, she should end up leading a very large group indeed: her fan base.

Review date: 27 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Gilded Balloon Teviot

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