Tensions between the messy spaces we inhabit and the dogmas and abstractions of Catholicism course through Bridget Christie’s Fringe offering at the Stand this year.
As the distorted cadences of The Fall’s Your Future, Our Clutter spill out of the speakers, the clothes-line, detritus and washing baskets littering the sides of the stage hint at the intricacy, depth and reach of Housewife Surrealist. Enter Christie, in luxurious Bishop’s attire, brandishing a toilet plunger and scattering communion wafers across her congregation, to the strains of a wayward reggae take on the Dr Who theme. Embracing clownish buffoonery and theological daring in equal measure, it is as arresting an introduction as you are likely to see in Edinburgh this August.
Interspersing perfectly-pitched moments on transubstantiation, Richard Dawkins and the psychological benefits of confession with sporadic outbursts of anarchic energy, Christie’s grasp of the theatrical force of her religion combines with a more sober, disputing tendency to make this a moving hour of comedy.
A compelling sequence on the Ascension stabilises the final action, a subdued playfulness complementing the parting meditation on the loneliness of Jesus.
Housewife Surrealist ranks alongside classics of religious humour such as Stewart Lee’s 90s Comedian and Richard Herring’s Christ on a Bike! This is an astonishing show.