altZoe Lyons is a Fringe veteran, and this year, pondering life as her 40th looms, she is out to prove she’s still got it. Cue an hour filled with buoyant tales of why – despite a long list of failed hopes and expectations (who needs to be fluent in French anyway?) – life, as long as it is filled with fudge, bush, and laughter, is good enough for her.

In her typically confident stride, Lyons grabs the audience’s attention from the word go, dressed in what proves to be both her nemesis and fantasy-dress go-to: her leopard-print Snuggie. Who knew a seemingly harmless garment-blanket hybrid could provoke such trauma and wicked sense of humour?

Notoriously acerbic, Lyons seems to have knocked off her sharp edges, revealing a softer, more wistful side to her comedy. Now with equal measures of venom and tenderness, Lyons breezes through her show, revelling in her ability to pivot from the sublime to the ridiculous as she goes. The result is for the most part enchanting: reminiscences of her sixteen-year-old self are a particular highlight of the hour, as are her social commentaries on the joys of the baggage reclaim and the Pope.

However, one cannot help but feel that while the delivery is as slick as can be, and some tales are irrepressibly funny, the overall content quality steps dangerously close to the realm of banality. In choosing to grumble and nag about the most familiar of gripes (traffic jams and infomercials, anyone?) the show palpably sags and looses its distinction.

Not Lyons’ finest hour perhaps, but still an entertaining one.
Zoe Lyons: Clownbusting, Pleasance Courtyard, 19.30, August 3-25, 3 Stars

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