Review – Zoe Lyons, Mustard Cutter

A poor showing from a gifted joke teller 

Zoe Lyons comedianZoe Lyons’ act defies most attempts at summary. While it seems to be a normal Fringe show, with one person telling jokes over the course of an hour, it is also a blend of politics and one-liners, sex and sexuality, and a deconstruction of British identity.

And maybe that’s the problem. Lyons is undoubtedly a gifted joke teller, and has some cutting verdicts on herself as well as on celebrities, but sometimes she seems to flit from subject to subject, without ever reaching the killer pay-off.

She starts with a rueful acknowledgement of her position as an Englishwoman in a Scotland on the brink of an epochal decision – “I am not going to delve into the referendum. I am only here a month and I cannot afford to split the room” – but moves on to the most hackneyed of subjects for an experienced comedian: the mid-life crisis.

Lyons, 42, may be doing herself a disservice with this approach. She has some clever lines, not least on former Take That star Barlow – “he’s so calculating in what he does, yet he seems to have miscalculated his taxes” – but too often she strays into tired old territory with telegraphed punchlines, not least on dinner parties and lifestyle magazines. As it happens, Mustard Cutter could do with a few more cuts.

Review written by Peter Edwards

Zoe Lyons – Mustard Cutter is at the Gilded Balloon at various times

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