Because You Demanded It

Bridget Christie at The Stand ★★★★

The stand-up tackles Brexit Britain in a show that is as enjoyable as it is timely, bending her logic and having fun with her fury

Written by Dominic Maxwell in The Times on August 12th, 2016

There are plenty of nods to Brexit Britain here at the Fringe, but no one else has come up with such a full-throated cry of comical despair as Bridget Christie. Her show is called Mortal, and if that doesn’t sound like it has much to do with gags about Nigel Farage and friends, that’s because Christie has rewritten it completely since referendum day. It will be called Because You Demanded It when it reaches London.

Whatever the moniker, see it. Three years ago Christie made her name with a feminist show in which she stealthily mixed the passionate with the playful. Here she’s pulled it off again with a wit and vim that is as enjoyable as it is timely.

Since politics is so grim right now, Christie tells us, she’s going to base her act on her new-found passion for gardening. Yet she’s barely into her paean to her potted fuchsia — a plant of foreign extraction that beds in remarkably well to British soil — before she makes clear just what game she’s playing. Soon her subtext is smashing its way centre-stage.

She has her cake and eats it, caricaturing her dismay in a way that allows her to bend her logic and have fun with her fury. She argues why a paedophile who voted Remain is a better person than a non-paedophile who voted Leave. It’s so ludicrous, yet so rooted in real resentment, that you can laugh at her rage however you voted.

She treats Jeremy Corbyn as an irrelevance — “the right are all liars and the left is a shambles” — as she goes on to a broader look at a damaged culture that allows us to downplay the virtue of experts, facts, empathy and reflection.

Did our feelings about the EU get fatally confused with our feelings about MPs and their taxpayer-funded moats? Can you retell the story of Brexit as a Ladybird Book? Can you add material about the mainstreaming of porn and wonky picture research at the Daily Mail to a state-of-the-divided-nation diatribe? Can this daughter of Irish immigrants keep all this funny and furious and inclusive before ending in a moving story about her parents? The answers are yes, yes, yes, just about, and very much so, yes.

Written by Dominic Maxwell in The Times on 12th August 2016.
Filed Under: Because You Demanded It, Review