War Donkey ★★★★
Written by Carly Halse in Female Arts.com on March 11th, 2013
On Friday 8th March, three things happened to me. *
1. In the morning, I spent a long time trying to explain why I prefer the term actor to actress, which included a lengthy discussion on the social and historical contexts of the word, and why I feel it unnecessary to identify myself with a word that specifies gender.
2. I went to the Southbank Centre and was instantly engulfed by a buzzing chorus of predominantly female voices. It was here, at the Women of the World Festival 2013, that I discovered the wonderful Bridget Christie for the first time.
Sauntering onstage, Christie is instantly likeable.
She’s the kind of person you want to go and have coffee with so you can talk all day long. Throughout the show, she meanders from a hands-in-pockets, notebook-referencing, aside-making nonchalance into the righteous anger of a feminist scorned. Once she carefully explains, “A woman, is a sort of a version, of a man,” the audience are eating out of her hands and hooting with agreement.
Her performance, although seeming somewhat jumbled, is engaging and energetic. Christie is unafraid to play around with her physicality and uses the microphone dynamics to brilliant effect, which is refreshing. Her section about the infamous ‘Bic for Her’ pens and the Bronte sisters is hilarious.
It is one of those scenes you end up trying to act out to your friends to explain how good a comedian is; although I’m sure I can never capture the verve with which Christie performs!
Some attempts at new material mostly worked, although a few fell a little flat, but Christie is ultimately an extremely talented writer and performer. Other stand out gags include the ‘decluttering’ of vaginas, Tory Feminists and her hilarious recount of an episode in Waterstones Women’s Studies section.
Topped off with a little bit of audience participation (admirably taken on by ‘Simon’ who played up delightfully) we are able to leave the room having the last laugh at our patriarchal culture. Suddenly, those red velvet drapes held a lot more metaphorical significance…
There was, of course, an element of preaching to the choir about this gig – but it just made me feel even more surprised that I had never before heard of Christie!
I’m pleased to say she has her own show, ‘Mind the Gaps’ on Radio 4, Thursdays at 11pm, but this fantastic example of how feminism doesn’t have to be all sour-faced and serious is something that needs to be pushed to the forefront of our culture and given more exposure.
This is the voice that needs to be reaching our young women and men. Get Bridget Christie into our schools! (If she can stand to be around all the children, that is.)
Oh, and the third thing that happened?
3. A member of my extended family posted a misogynistic meme on Facebook.
Still a long way to go then ladies and gents… But at least Bridget Christie is on the case.
* Many thanks to Bridget for inspiring the structure of this review.
© Carly Halse 2013
Reviewed on Friday 8th March, 2013.
1 hour show time.
WoW ran from the 6th – 10th March, 2013.