A recent move into a posher area of town provided the
inspiration for Zoe Lyons’ brilliant new show, which is based on snobbery,
class and Lyons’ own worry that she doesn’t ‘measure up’. Well,
Mustard Cutter is an utter delight from start to finish.
One of the things that makes Lyons stand out is her ability as an actress. She uses her voice and facial expressions to great effect, able to make each character she portrays - from the little old lady who mistakenly wanders into a Brighton rum bar to a horsey-faced saleswoman at Tiffany’s - instantly three-dimensional. Lyons never allows an anecdote to overstay its welcome; often you wish some of the characters would hang around a little longer.
Lyons is brave, too, and not afraid to tackle some of the big issues of the day. She mentions the forthcoming Scottish referendum within the show’s opening moments, with a particularly amusing description of the changes it would wreak on the map. In her sixty minutes, which really fly by, Lyons covers equal marriage, UKIP, immigration, ageism, sexism, misogyny (and more). Yet, because she illustrates each observation with such witty, cynical and frequently self-deprecating stories, this is a form of social commentary that you really don’t want to miss.
Lyons’ experience is evident in this show, as each segment flows smoothly into the next, once or twice building into a particularly absorbing, or even quite moving, story. Immigration leads to cheese and cheap booze, French supermarkets and a side-splittingly funny defence of the merits of drinking wine from a box instead of a bottle.
Experienced enough not to labour her point, and yet clever enough to keep reminding us of it, Lyons (a self-confessed ‘stealth snob’) consistently returns to her main theme, and you realise that each element feeds into it in some way, even if it’s not immediately obvious. Mustard Cutter feels like a particularly cohesive and well-thought-out show as a result. This is comedy that makes you think.
From the ‘Bible of Bile’ (Good Housekeeping magazine) to the homosexuals’ responsibility for putting lobster on the plate of every man, from alcoholic Disney to Martin Luther King’s dream kitchen, Mustard Cutter is an utter delight from start to finish.