Bridget Christie/A Ant ★★★★
Written by Susan Robinson in Fest on August 12th, 2010
“I’ll attempt to be as normal as possible,” says Bridget Christie, just after taking off her homemade ant costume. Thankfully, her attempt fails spectacularly, and in her imaginative set she manages to make the commonplace fresh and compelling.
Christie warms up the audience with A Ant, her insect alter-ego with a rather large chip on her thorax about the comedy circuit. As bizarre as it sounds, this proves a refreshing method of venting on the double standards of the industry without coming across as bitter or whiney.
Unlike many standups, Christie keeps any autobiographical maundering to a minimum and succeeds in talking about herself without making the audience feel as though they’ve collectively stumbled into a counselling session. Much of her material relates the various ways she has light-heartedly made a nuisance of herself to the likes of Wikipedia and Sainsbury’s, the latter tale making the supermarket’s customer services department seem surprisingly human and even witty.
Christie’s intelligent humour doesn’t rely on belittling or attacking others, humiliating audience members or spouting obscenity for cheap laughs. The set is remarkably well-paced and there isn’t a lull in the entire show. She exhibits a charming interest in etymology, assigning new meanings to words and then claiming they were popularised by Andrew Lloyd Webber. This may be a more conventional approach for a woman who has performed gigs as Charles II and reenacted witch burnings, but it’s far from average standup.