Lauren Pattison: Peachy – 4/5*
Following a whirlwind year for Lauren Pattison including career highs, international travel and finding love, the Lastminute.com Best Newcomer nominee 2017 presents her new Edinburgh Fringe show, Peachy.
For Lauren, this year has been peachy. A peachy year, however, is not exactly perfect fodder for comedy, she says, and surely it’s really just boasting if she stands on a stage and talks about it. The first thing audiences will learn about Lauren is that she’s headstrong: who cares if people think she shouldn’t write comedy about her best year on record – she’s not going to listen. This sets the tone for Peachy, an engaging, upfront and hilarious hour of comedy.
Lauren’s set is minimal, it’s effectively just a microphone, upstairs in a small room at Pleasance, but it’s not really something one notices after she steps on stage. When one has a personality as loud and lively as Lauren, it’s worth more than a thousand props or any gimmicky on stage entrance. Her jokes and personality almost burst from the room.
The choice to make the show about her good year is fruitful. The end result is sweet, honest and uniquely Lauren. She is a woman who knows her own mind and how she wants to be received by her friends, audience and reviewers. There is a lot of heart here. She talks about her mental health openly and candidly, as a normal and important part of her life – the way more comedians could stand to do. As much as I laughed throughout, because Lauren has a great comedic knack for storytelling, there was also one point where I felt myself welling up. I am a bit of a crier, but I can’t say this has ever happened at a comedy gig before.
At the heart of Lauren’s material is her identity as a Northern working class female comedian. Her discussion of class is interesting, candid and surprisingly insightful for a comedy show, as she wrestles with her own insecurity about class. I loved her contrasting her upbringing with some of the frankly quite ridiculous middle class men she’s been on dates with, as well as her description of her family as the sort of working class where one has a dining table but only ever uses it on special occasions (I have never related to a description of class so much). She admits that she was insecure about explicitly talking about class in her Fringe Show, and I am glad (though not surprised based on the courage that radiates from her) she chose to, not just because her perspective as a working class woman is underrepresented in comedy, but also because the show would be lesser without it. It adds a depth and intelligence to her comedy that others may not have the courage to include.
What really stands out with Lauren is her honesty. While she is full of brilliant put downs, big jokes and sharp wit, she also puts a lot of heart into her script and performance. I left Peachy feeling uplifted, believing that more comedians should write shows about the good times – and also that there should be more comedians like Lauren Pattison on the comedy circuit.
~ review by Susy Brett