Brighton Dome Concert Hall, Brighton Festival
Written by Vicky Nangle in Beyond The Joke on May 19th, 2018
Bridget Christie, multi award-winning feminist comedian, author, with her own BBC Radio 4 series and Netflix special, is tired. Christie, she explains at articulate jittery length, is tired of pretending to be a feminist for six years. Of course she isn’t, but it is an excellent device with which to tell the story of a meeting she had with a particularly disrespectful television executive. She’s lying but who cares, because – as she has told her children – “we are losing the war on truth.” With Trump lying as well as Christie’s seven-year-old daughter and Putin doing a much better job of deceiving and keeping a straight face than his US counterpart, the world is going to Hell in a handbasket.
Of course of all of this is delivered in Christie’s indomitable style, loping into her commentary with demonstrative exaggerated physical affront or anxiety, each reaction broadcasting off her in big waves.
She calls herself a “slacktivist – sign a thing, go to TK Maxx and buy a bag”, but Christie is far from that, even putting to one side her work for FGM survivors. She weaves the domestic and global intertwined, mining Islamic terrorist paranoia from a dishwasher function, and Russian surveillance in a SmartTV. “I don’t know where I belong anymore,” she says, but scattering facts about school days missed due to menstruation, meeting former Pussy Riot member Nadia Tolokonnikova, in questioning everything and informing everyone this feels like an organic place has developed and been carved out by Christie to have her exactly where she belongs. Placing material about lemons and how unnerving she find’s Theresa May’s mouth alongside global gobsmackedness and national confusion that could leave her in the bamboozling position of possibly agreeing with Peter Stringfellow – Informing, raising the general level of awareness whilst pulling a face.
Christie is preaching to the choir in left-leaning Brighton, with a couple of occasions of spontaneous applause giving the show the feel of a political hustings gathering rather than a comedy performance. The longer gaps between laughs are not many, and they are packed with facts and ideas that really don’t make the space a problem.
She finishes with a neat crescendo, down on one knee re-enacting a conversation with her daughter, comically battling her own vehement speech against consumerism with her child’s hopeful and then cornered enquiries. She sends up the haranguing, aware of her own passions and possible difficulties at moderation, and it’s this passion and individual flawedness that compels engagement from start to finish.