@ Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 @ 21:30

After a sell-out début show in 2013, Aisling Bea is back with her “plan B”—though the idea that she might need a back-up career is surely less and less likely, given that she also works as a writer and actress. Although some of the material is a little well worn, Bea has the energy, the talent and charm by the bucket load to make up for it.

The show’s theme is the one weak link. Loosely based around childhood expectations and adult realities, with a healthy dose of Catholic shame, it isn’t quite sure what it wants to say. That’s not to say the results aren’t still side splitting, as they frequently are—tales of too much mime at drama school, Facebook boasting in LA, and truckloads of enjoyable filth all score big laughs. Bea is a very gifted mimic, in addition to her other talents, and pulls off any accent she attempts. There’s just something—a very small something—missing to tie it all together.

The best parts are twofold. Whenever Bea interacts with the crowd, she sparkles, holding them in the palm of her hand, without ever resorting to bitchy chastisement. And when hints of political rants emerge—when discussing the Irish same sex marriage vote, or the thankless role of women in the Catholic Church—she really takes off, an obvious passion for the cause making her material even better. If she had a whole show exploring only these subjects, she’d be unstoppable.