Zoe Lyons has been doing stand-up for fourteen years, and you can tell. Her material is polished, her presence is confident and she clearly enjoys what she does. But Entry Level Human feels a bit like nipping to the shops in your pyjamas: it’s just all a bit comfortable.
Entry Level Human is an enjoyable, well delivered show with a structure which – unlike most shows at Edinburgh it seems – actually relates to its title. It riffs off the idea of there being ‘entry-level’ people amongst us; those who follow the inane instructions of ‘motivational’ quotes; those who blast music from their phones without using headphones; those who leave their rubbish on the beach, thus destroying it; those who voted for Brexit; homophobes.
Lyons makes witty and occasionally wry observations about the world we live in and the occasional stupidity of those who occupy it. She doesn’t leave herself out of the equation, ensuring that the material takes a general survey with specific examples, rather than cruelly subjecting others to ridicule.
She is worried about how we stay human in a tech-driven, modern world, and notes the ‘personal Brexit’ that seems to emerge along with ageing. It’s a witty parallel which draws the political into the personal and starts to edge into a deeper kind of comedy – elsewhere, she talks about kittens falling off shelves (an internet staple) and how a flat white changed her life.
But when Lyons starts to talk about selfhood and happiness, she seems to hit her stride. She warns of the dangers of having - or trying to present - a 100% image of ourselves 100% of the time, as this isn't realistic, and how happiness resides in the gap between the reality of what you are, and your expectations of yourself. This section managed to hit a profundity which, while wouldn't have been sustainable throughout the whole show, felt slightly bracketed into other material.
It was a good show, which was good at what it did, but never became more-than. It operated on the same level of panel shows and other programmes that are going to be repeated in a few months on Dave. Your auntie would probably like it, as would your neighbour: it feels aimed at the middle aged, who have enough income to worry about the sound of a fly buzzing around their flat, rather than the ever increasing cost of its rent.
Zoe Lyons: Entry Level Human is playing 1st – 26th August at 5.45pm at the Gilded Balloon Teviot (Dining Room)
For tickets and more information, click here