An Ungrateful Woman
Bridget Christie, The Stand: ‘Laser focussed and brilliantly sustained’ ★★★★
Christie's hour of feminism jokes cements her as one of the brightest and best around
Written by Alice Jones in The Indepedent on August 11th, 2014
“Feminism has completely ruined my life!” yelps Bridget Christie at the beginning of her show, An Ungrateful Woman.
She had, she explains, been hoping that her last stand-up hour, about feminism, would be a flop. “And then I’d be able to give up work and be supported by my husband.”
Instead, it won her the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award, a record-breaking run at London’s Soho Theatre and legions of new fans.
She is being ironic, of course. And this year Christie returns to the Fringe with another laser focussed and brilliantly sustained hour of jokes about women’s place in the world.
She could have done Scottish independence – “But I’m just not interested in it, I’m afraid” – and besides, there is still quite a lot of comic material in equal rights. More than enough, she says and goes on to prove with flair, to sustain a second hour at the Fringe.
Here, then, are 60 superb minutes of routines about oversexed H&M adverts – which ponder in surreal detail why the supermodel Gisele might be sitting with her legs so widely splayed – and a non-sexy trip to Ann Summers; about anti-rape underwear and her “misogynist” husband (an imaginary character and not, one assumes, her real husband, fellow liberal comedian Stewart Lee).
A recurring thread concerns her audition for a Muller yoghurt commercial, which she deconstructs, hysterically, until it is nothing more than a dubious rape fantasy.
Too heavy for comedy? The show also features a good long section about female genital mutilation (FGM). It is a daring topic to tackle but Christie, a committed anti-FGM campaigner, is aware of that and on top of her subject.
She handles it with the right amount of gravity and crowd-pleasing anecdotes from her appearances on Celebrity Squares and as “the token woman” on Have I Got News For You.
If there are more serious, campaigning moments than last year, Christie earns them in a show that never lets go of the pace, or loses sight of the humour. The balance between light and dark, serious and silly, hilarious mock outrage and heartfelt anger is struck dead on.
As she points out, comedy can do more than make people laugh, it can change the world. Certainly, I don’t know how political, engaged stand-up might be done better.
If last year’s show was Christie finding her voice; this is her cementing it as one of the brightest and best around. Here’s to more of the same in 2015.