@ Laughing Horse @ Moriarty’s, Edinburgh, until Sun 30 Aug 2015 @ 13:55

With a haunting Diamonds Are Forever, diva Cat Loud announces her presence on the stage. She proclaims herself to be Scotland’s Bette Midler, flirts with men in the audience, belts out the hits. So far, so showbiz. The audience are obviously in for some classic cabaret. But it’s not clear yet just quite how good it’s going to be…

For beneath the gold shawl and rock on her finger, Cat Loud is Catriona MacLeod, a girl from the Hebrides, and although she’s in the big smoke (for that’s what Edinburgh is to her) in search of excitement, glamour and a spotlight, underneath it all she wants to curl up and hide. Via a costume change, she reveals this inner side, and the tender songs to go with it, including a spine-tingling version of Billy Joel’s She’s Always A Woman which, on checking with Spotify afterwards, proves to be a more affecting arrangement than the original. She’s accompanied on electric piano and accordion by a first-rate musician in Finn Anderson, whose Alba: The Musical was a big success at last year’s Fringe. They make a very good duo, and have all the songs to fill out the story – The Lady Is A Tramp, Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps, even some Rihanna – and the transformation between the two Cats is very effectively done.

Even at the very un-cabaret time of 1.55pm in the very un-cabaret setting of a pub basement, Cat Loud has done what all cabaret artistes should be able to do: take us through the highs and lows of emotion, show us the fragility behind the performer. The hairs on your neck will stand up, the corners of your eyes may even dampen slightly. This performance is completely deserving of the bigger stage that Cat – the outer Cat at least – feels is hers.