Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Wearing a swimsuit, fishnet stockings, white lab coat and bow tie, presumably because they reflect important aspects of her life and her recent break with the past, conventions and possibly, sanity, this is a watershed moment for Sara Pascoe.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Not only is she single for the first time since 2001, but she’s largely eschewed the deep scientific research that made her name in her more recent shows and memoir, Animal, even if an occasional bit of book learning sneaks out of these highly personal anecdotes like a rogue pubic hair from her greatly valued Marks & Spencer’s knickers.
Indeed, with its occasional veneration of incest and wholesale dismissal of art at the world’s biggest arts festival, LadsLadsLads feels as determined an effort to shake some of Pascoe’s recently acquired fanbase as her dumping of her boyfriend for Christmas.
Theatre, jazz and art galleries get particularly short shrift. But she maintains that stand-up is no artistic endeavour either, anointing herself a craftsperson, building solid, or otherwise, comic furniture. As with her research into evolutionary biology, she’s been systematic, clinically approaching a half-year of solitary celebrations of singlehood as a way of generating material. Regrettably, these spiritual self-explorations have merely dredged up her worst insecurities and personality traits, which she expands on with rare and refreshing candour.
Whatever her process though, she’s offering radically offbeat solutions to entrenched cultural problems, contriving a philanthropic correction to prescribed gender roles from her own profligate masturbation.
At one point, she gets a little too sidelined by youth culture’s subversion of Harry Potter iconography. But otherwise, Pascoe’s preoccupations seem less and less disparate and disconnected as the show develops, not through their own inherent logic, but the sharp, self-questioning, utterly unique brain that’s presenting them.
Until 27 August. Today 5:40pm.