Zoe Lyons, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Charm second to chutzpah
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The Independent Culture

Last year, Zoe Lyons's sprightly debut show was nominated for an if.comedy newcomer award. A year later, her growing confidence is obvious, though it comes somewhat at the expense of her charm.

Mangled Mantra of the Messed Up Modern Mind is well seasoned with gags throughout, but the first half sees Lyons teeter on the wrong side of theatrical. She is appalled that Nike could only offer her £250 to advertise their shoes online, and suggests that they ask a child from one of their sweatshops to do it. Her imagining of how this might go, in an overdemonstrative manner that impinges on other routines, unravels the already thin premise.

Her register settles down as her show proceeds, however, and she has some zingy one-liners: "Dubai is like SimCity, but without the culture." Lyons has a talent for bitchiness: when she sees an obese girl wearing a T-shirt proclaiming "I'm a princess", her response is, "A principality, more like."

Distractions other than Lyons's occasionally hectoring tone come in the form of a talkative audience member, with whom she deals effectively and humorously, without squashing him gratuitously.

While there are some choppy waters interrupting the flow, Lyons ultimately gets her show on an even keel and provides a few surprises on the journey.

To 25 August, except 6 & 13 (0131-556 6550)

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