War Donkey ★★★★
Written by Mathilda Gregory in Fringe Guru on August 14th, 2012
Bridget Christie is getting a reputation for her madcap visuals.
The opening of this show surpasses all that has gone before, with a donkey costume worn over an inflatable ballerina costume, and a balloon full of feathers bursting over her head as she rolls onto the stage.
And in quite a small room.
It all, just about, makes sense. The donkey is actually a metaphor for the (sadly, perpetually) topical subject of women in comedy. The silliness of this is intentional and perfectly done. This is a really good strong funny show, but, honestly, I would love Christie just for the way she chooses her topics. When everyone else was being an arch atheist, last year, she was talking about being a believer and when no one thinks feminism can be funny, she makes an entire show around it – a show that isn’t just enjoyable, but properly silly and joyful too.
Christie is a mischievous delight onstage, consistently funny and physically daring and inventive. She even breaks off at points to explain jokes that were misunderstood by other reviewers. This could go horribly wrong, in a sour grapes kind of way, but Christie explains it in such a charming, covert tone that it works.
The ending of Christie’s last show was my favourite single moment in an Edinburgh show that year. This year’s ending is similarly avant garde, perhaps more so, but it doesn’t quite work. It is a brave move to end such a relentlessly inventive show with something as broad as, essentially, fart jokes – as low-brow as you can get. Unfortunately, it’s just a shade too baffling for the audience.
Christie is quite a chaotic performer. Her flashes of brilliance are frequent and often very brilliant indeed (I could watch her mime the word “wolves” again and again), which make her misses almost surprising. But even with those less successful moments, a genuinely silly, gleeful show about feminism is a certain Fringe highlight.