Lauren Pattison: Lady Muck | Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33) | Star rating: ****
Opening underwhelmingly, with what seems a fairly generic stand-up introduction about moving to London to pursue her comedy dreams, finding her resolve tested by her inability to hold down a job and the culture clash with her Geordie roots, Lauren Pattison’s debut hour blossoms into something far more robust and impressive.
Reinforcing her instinctive self-disparagement, she explains how she was dumped by her boyfriend of four years, his “ghosting” of her, suddenly cutting all contact, prompting an intense, introspective revaluation, with most of the 23-year-old’s schoolfriends now settled with children, even as she continues to act the drunken, wayward liability.
A sucker for punishment though, and with her first Edinburgh hour to write, Pattison needs closure on her former relationship and sets about tracking down her ex, the better to know herself and grow comfortable in her own skin.
Related with compelling enough self-denigration, there’s a significant gear change as the baby-faced comic rejects patronising advice about her act from a previous audience member, learning to stand up for herself, initiating a process of facing down her fears.
Overcoming her greatest anxiety by openly sharing it, Pattison appears to grow visibly in stature as she approaches her tale’s denouement, the insecure ingénue replaced by a focused, supremely assured performer, the strength of her convictions and the steady mastery with which she conveys them fuelled by a gently simmering, righteous fury.
To simply characterise Lady Muck as an ugly duckling yarn would be to underplay the talent with which Pattison weaves her narrative, retrospective analysis of the hour suggesting subtle manipulation of tone, with seemingly lighter episodes seeded with weightier import for later. True, you only really appreciate this show in its entirety. But it’s an absorbing and rewarding process taking the journey of self-discovery with her.
• Until 28 August. Today 5:45pm.