FEMALE genital mutilation. The stoning of a woman by her father for refusing an arranged marriage. The sexist imaging of women in advertising. Don’t sound like the stuff of stand-up comedy, do they?
They are, though, in Bridget Christie’s new show. In the course of a fast-paced hour which packs in stories, gags, observational humour, physical high jinks and repartee with the audience, she educates us about these feminist issues without compromising either their seriousness or the comedy accompanying them.
Politically progressive and very funny, Christie makes possible open discussion of difficult and uncomfortable subjects in an inclusive and empowering way which doesn’t threaten anyone. Except perhaps her husband, comedian Stewart Lee, who comes in for some stick for – allegedly – preferring clean underwear to her comedy career.
Christie’s natural warmth and passion about women’s issues, plus her talent for communication, has even made this harsh government listen to what she has to say. Michael Gove, before he was moved, agreed to send a letter round to all schools about FGM to raise teacher awareness.
We come out of the show better informed about the routine oppression of women that goes on around us, more able and motivated to do something about it, and thoroughly well entertained. Some achievement.
Memo to Stewart Lee: iron your own underpants, mate – your wife is going places.