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Bridget Christie: War Donkey – The Public, West Bromwich

Reviewer: Selwyn Knight


Bridget Christie burst onto the stage at The Public full of apologies for the late start – caused by a delayed flight from her previous gig in Ireland. Maybe it was the rushing and her arrival just in time, but her set started slowly and with every appearance of nervousness, not helped by the small audience. However, the audience were supportive and she soon hit her stride.

The show was given its title before actually being written after seeing reports of Colonel Gaddafi blaming his downfall on donkeys (really) – bur Christie pointed out that on reflection there simply wasn’t enough material here to fill the show. This turns out to be a real positive, because what follows is an intelligent set, initially looking with affection at her Catholic roots and the reassurance and pleasure she can get from these beliefs.

However, the main part of the set comprises attacks on misogeny in all its forms, on female genital mutilation and on ‘Tory Feminists’, each linked by the events of a single day in April. This could easily be heavy going, even preachy, but Christie’s writing and delivery is far too subtle for that: she charmingly slips genuine laugh out loud jokes into her political correct and enlightening routine so that they reinforce, not dilute, her very real and important messages. So in between ruminations on, for example, how her father is baffled when books on Isaac Newton mysteriously fall on him from a tree, we have very funny attacks on, for example, an ignorant bookshop assistant, on whom she takes an indirect but yery appropriate revenge.

Christie is, by her own admission, a feminist in the sense of believing in true equality of opportunity for women as well as men. But it’s all done with affection (except when discussing the Tory Feminists…), for example, she reassures us she loves men, ‘when the pilot came on the tannoy and it was a man’s voice, I never turned a hair!’

Christie won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, some of her material is really quite challenging, but her charming manner certainly won over this audience.

Reviewed on 26 October

Picture: Steve Ullathorne

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