Near the start of this ironic, impassioned, terrifically funny show, Bridget Christie feels she must tell us she is “not a spoof of a 1980s feminist comedian”. The pointer might be useful for anyone familiar with Christie’s history of arch disguises on the Fringe (Charles II, a giant ant). Yet, although she jokes that her feminism is just a marketing device, she’s pitting her playfulness against the real world here in a way that no one would confuse for the whimsy she once punted.
So she sticks it to Sir Stirling Moss, who questioned whether women have the mental strength to be great racing drivers. She would have a pop at the broadcaster John Inverdale too, she says, only she really doesn’t like him “so I couldn’t perform it with any sense of fun”. Smiling, Christie both trades on and subverts her own stridency as she rages against Bic, for marketing a pen especially for women, and mocks the notions of Margaret Thatcher or Beyoncé as feminist icons.
Halfway through, you may wonder whether Christie is in danger of shooting at too many open goals, at neglecting to explain modern feminism’s gnarlier targets. Don’t worry, she’s on it. She explains her strategy of throwing away lurid lads’ mags that newsagents put on the bottom shelves, where her young sons can see them: “This stuff should be opt-in, not opt-out.”
While Christie is all about retaining a rough-and-ready veneer — “I reserve the right to experiment at the Fringe!” — she retains a beautiful balance between the personal, the public and the parodic. Talking about Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who protested the Taliban’s attitude to education, she makes something vivid — but always entertaining — from ideas about repression and commodification.
Yes, she needs one more routine to fulfil the potential of a show that is currently only 45 minutes long, but this is that best of Fringe experiences: a comedian finding her voice.