Once best-known for performing as the likes of Charles II, Bridget Christie’s latest incarnation is not, she stresses, “a spoof of a 1980s feminist character act”. No, she’s like this all the time and has drawn increased clarity as a writer from sharing a cause so close to her heart.
Retaining and refining the angry tirades that fuelled last year’s War Donkey, this is political polemic delivered with passion, wit and impish cunning. As human rights activists, feminists needn’t be funny, she points out. But it doesn’t hurt that she’s on excellent form here, incorporating so much anti-female bigotry and projecting it back in outlandish directions, all the while resisting po-faced charges with an entertaining meta-commentary on her “hysteria”.
After establishing the show’s tone with some sarcastic asides about God’s invention of women and their scarcity on comedy panel shows, she derives great mileage from mocking former racing driver Sir Stirling Moss. A buffer of the old school, who once wondered aloud if women had the mental capacity to drive Formula One cars, his chauvinist pride comes before a literal fall. John Inverdale and Susan Sarandon are likewise held up for ridicule, and if Christie’s disquiet with media stigmatising of feminism is in absolute earnest, she’s always wary of seeming worthy.
The title routine about a Bic pen developed for women is presented with appealing daftness in a playlet featuring the Brontës. Domestic violence, genital mutilation, sex trafficking and honour killing are equally cleverly handled in a sequence that develops into a wonderfully inflated, total dismissal of men.
After expanding so much energy, creating the impression of a woman driven to the edge by misogyny, she now brings it down to open up about a deadly serious crusade she’s waging against softcore pornography prominently displayed in public.
Even here, she portrays herself as a frazzled mother driven to alcoholic distraction. With moral if not legal right on her side, it’s a moving protest and she queries the holding up of Margaret Thatcher and Beyoncé as feminist icons with renewed, irrefutable authority.
Hailing 16-year-old equal rights activist and Taleban target Malala Yousafzai instead, A Bic For Her is Christie brilliantly finding her voice.