Bridget Christie/A Ant ★★★★

Stuart Young - Fresh Air - Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Bridget Christie is what the Fringe is made for. The comic begins her set with a “support act” consisting of her dressed in an ant costume, claiming, with undeniable accuracy, to be the only ant-comic performing this year.

The following five minutes are unremittingly funny. The ant act is a surreal metaphor; an excuse to talk about the female experience of performing comedy. But if that sounds heavy handed (and it sort of is) it really doesn’t matter. The ant-rant is so bizarre and, well, comedic, with wave after wave of false indignation from the ant that any serious point Christie might be making is just a bonus. This segment of the show is tight and condensed; every line seems to resonate and draw out another laugh, even when she pulls out a notebook of her pocket and gives the audience what they, according to A Ant, want; a list of repetitive ant puns.

After she transforms into her human self, Christie seems genuinely excited that the audience enjoyed A Ant, explaining that she performed the routine for months in London without a good response. Thank the Lord then, for the Edinburgh Fringe, without which this great set might have been abandoned entirely.

The weakness of Christie’s act, in fact, is that she peaks too soon. The rest of her stand up is charming, but sometimes she becomes a bit too self-referential. She makes too many self deprecating jokes about the audience response in front of a very appreciative audience. There are also some odd deviations, including a tangent about Fred West that doesn’t really build to anything spectacular.

Where she hits however, she scores home runs. Bizarre postal correspondence with the customer service department of Sainsbury’s regarding a packet of cat litter provides a memorable highlight, as well as a crowd-pleasing motif involving Andrew Lloyd Webber’s face; as rich a vein of comedy as has ever been mined.

Go and see A Ant then, for one of the best pieces of character comedy at the Fringe. And stick around for the headliner, she’s pretty good too.

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