Lau­ren Pat­ti­son

The Guardian - G2 - - Live Reviews - Brian Lo­gan

★★★☆☆ Soho theatre, Lon­don Un­til Satur­day

Lau­ren Pat­ti­son’s first show was about a breakup. Her sec­ond – she tells us – cel­e­brates the hap­pi­ness she’s found since. In fact, the two sets are sim­i­lar: both are sprightly nar­ra­tives of tri­umph over ad­ver­sity, lib­er­ally sprin­kled with self-mo­ti­va­tional slo­gans. What’s good about that is Pat­ti­son’s emo­tional in­ti­macy – we ex­pe­ri­ence ev­ery ebb and flow of the 24-yearold’s con­fi­dence, her love life, her ef­forts to find her feet away from her na­tive New­cas­tle. The down­side is that a higher pre­mium is placed on this chron­i­cle of her psy­cho­log­i­cal well­be­ing than on jokes or nar­ra­tive power.

Pat­ti­son often opts to end her rou­tines with a homily about their per­sonal-de­vel­op­ment sig­nif­i­cance. (“You can’t run away from your prob­lems”; “Peo­ple can’t help you if you don’t tell them what’s wrong.”) Such cliches clog up the com­edy.

The show traces Pat­ti­son’s ef­forts to be young, free and sin­gle. That’s eas­ier said than done when you’re “frag­ile” and strug­gle, as Pat­ti­son does, with your men­tal health. The sto­ries she tells of these jour­neys emo­tional and ge­o­graph­i­cal (about a trip to Ade­laide zoo; about her school bully show­ing up at one of her gigs) aren’t par­tic­u­larly re­mark­able, but Pat­ti­son an­i­mates them with un­der­dog met­tle and a perky sense of her own ridicu­lous­ness.

She de­ploys work­ing-class right­eous­ness, too. Sev­eral sto­ries are fu­elled by am­biva­lence about her well-heeled Lon­don set. One rou­tine con­trasts board­ing school with a lurid ex­pe­ri­ence from her teenage years on Ty­ne­side. But there’s no space for spon­tane­ity. Pat­ti­son just mo­tors on with her ev­ery­day tales of early-20s angst, de­liv­ered with pep, pluck and no lit­tle warmth.

Pep and pluck … Lau­ren Pat­ti­son

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