(Mark) Thomas would certainly approve of Bridget Christie (The Stand, 11.10am, until August 25, * * * *) and her own minor act of dissent: for the past few months, she’s been nipping into supermarkets and newsagents and doing a bit of ‘ethical filing’ with the lad’s mags.
That impromptu campaign forms the backbone of a show that decries modern perceptions of feminism and its ‘icons’, all done with a cheeky sense of knowing and agreeably outlandish digressions.
Whether it’s imagining Martin Luther King as a stand-up, the Bronte sisters struggling to finish their works or the enjoyably over-the-top reaction to misogynistic comments by Stirling Moss, it all makes for a witty, powerful polemic.
The possibility of discovering a new comedy talent at the beginning of their career is part of what makes the fringe so exciting, but there can be just as much of a thrill in seeing a seasoned performer take a new direction.
One of the most talked about shows so far is Bridget Christie’s A Bic for Her (the Stand).
Christie has always been a likable and engaging performer, though in past shows she’s tended to hide behind a kind of surreal whimsy (dressing up as Charles II, an ant or a donkey) that’s not to everyone’s taste.
But this year she’s stripped away the silly costumes and emerged as a superb standup with a powerful voice and something to say. Feminism may sound like a po-faced subject for comedy, but Christie is fully aware of potential pitfalls, hamming up her outrage at trivial matters – among them the “female-friendly” pen of the title – in order to smuggle less amusing truths past her audience. (“I expect that’s why the Brontës were so shit at writing,” she declares, indignant, “their pens were so uncomfortable and drab.”) The result is a tight, smartly written set loaded with sharp lines and delivered with conviction.
It’s nothing short of a revelation, and I look forward to much more where this came from (including her forthcoming book).
Why you need to know about her:
Remember when Bic brought out those biros designed specifically for women? (They came in a pink box, natch, and got a lot of sarcastic reviews on Amazon.) Well, that’s the kind of misogyny Bridget wants to call-out – and have a good laugh at, too.
Her brand of funny feminism is hot right now. She has a show on Radio 4 – Bridget Christie Minds the Gap – and a book in the pipeline.
Reviewers describe her as ‘avant-garde’. That’s mostly because of her bizarre costumes. In previous shows she’s dressed up as an ant, Charles II, the Great Plague virus and a donkey.
This year, the dressing up’s gone, but don’t expect anything too conventional.
Fellow comedian Harry Hill called her ‘the most original comic I’ve seen in years.’
false vitriol abounds in standup, but here’s some genuine righteous fury. Her surrealist bent cast aside, Christie powers through a cogent teardown of what passes for feminism today., decrying misconceptions of what the cause means. We’ve got a long way to go, and she may be the one to take us there.
Offbeat comedian Bridge Christie returns to the Fringe this year with her latest offering “A Bic for Her.”
As a front runner in the funny feminist brigade, Christie’s eighth solo Edinburgh show looks set to be her usual winning mix of avant-garde entertainment.
“Bridget Christie – A Bic for Her.” 11:10, 3rd – 25th August, The Stand, York Place, Edinburgh.
Bridget Christie has been going from strength to strength over the last few years.
Now, with a Radio 4 series and a deal to write a book about 21st-century feminism under her belt, she is sounding off on the f-word and tackling tricky subjects such as Beyonce as female icon and BIC’s pens for women.
A rare, quirky and immensely likeable talent.
The Stand, 3 to 25 August (thestand.co.uk)
Bridget is the perfect mix of smart, silly and surreal, combing beautiful feminist polemic with a dazzling ability to turn around on the spot. Her latest Radio 4 series will have raised her profile, and there is no doubt her new fans will be pleased with this hour, which has at its focus the decision by Bic to sale a pen for women.
Whether she’s riding a Popemobile or disguised as an ant, Christie’s dappy surrealism has long been an endearing fixture of the comedy circuit. But – as Radio 4 listeners will know – she’s now focusing on feminism and has a sense of purpose that may elevate her this year from likable to unmissable.
The Stand Comedy Club, 3-25 August.
Talking about feminism, it’s an area Christie has pretty much made her own – possibly because so few people are tackling it in a funny way.
Christie’s approach is absurdist, but after Bic started marketing ballpoints specifically for women – whose delicate feminine fingers had clearly long struggled with those old-fashioned patriarchal biros – reality proved stranger than surrealism.
But you have to get up pretty early to catch Bridget Christie.
Not a metaphor, it’s just a really early show.
The Stand. 11.10