Who Am I?
Bridget Christie, The Haymarket, Basingstoke review – making the menopause funny - ★★★★
Turning 50 can be fun
Written by Veronica Lee in The Arts Desk on March 7th, 2023
Bridget Christie is hot. Not in that way, you mucky pups. She’s hot because she’s 51 and menopausal, she tells us – and she’s on a mission to explain why, rather than marking a negative moment in her life, it’s the start of a new age, and a good one at that.
She makes a persuasive case, setting out the downsides first. The hot flushes, obviously. The brain fog, the irregular periods – with the occasional “passata tsunami” – but mostly how it heralds invisibility for middle-aged women.
But then, gradually, she builds her case to suggest that this is actually a great time in a woman’s life. If nothing else, she says, she no longer gives a shit about what people think of her. Oh my, did that get a big response from the middle-aged women in the audience.
Who Am I? is, Christie says, about gender double standards. If men went through the menopause – “which affects one in one women” – it would be celebrated, and talked about in the same way as any other normal part of the human condition. So she’s on a mission to do just that, and she does it in style, marrying her now trademark campaigning feminism with bouts of clowning and some very funny gags.
She sets up this audacious mix by first testing her audience with an opening skit that may cause some to wonder what is going on, even shift uneasily in their seats. But soon all is revealed as she expounds on her theory of the difference between how men and women are perceived.
She produces more examples of male-female expectations, along with her musings on the real purpose of hi-vis jackets, the importance of stacking Tupperware properly, the intuitive knowledge of mothers, and irritating cyclists. She throws in some playful audience interaction, long-form jokes, shaggy dog stories and plenty of detours as she plays up the scattiness that menopause brings some women – but this is a finely crafted show where everything counts.
There is a lot of circling back in the show and after a long, detailed tale about a flasher in her local park – complete with some physical comedy from Christie and a rather brilliant reveal – she ends it with her best callback of the evening. No brain fog here.