Bay Citee Molars
Ben Van Der Velde
Boy With Tape On His Face
Brian Damage & Krysstal
At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010
More Bridget Christie videos
|At Chortle Fast Fringe 2010|
|As Samuel Pepys|
|On Derek Acorah|
|As the Great Plague|
Alexei Sayle Presents...
Alexei Sayle says it was a reluctant decision to return to stand-up after such a along absence, admitting that he was wary he might only be held in such high regard as a founding father of alternative comedy because so few people had actually seen him on stage.
‘Diluting the legacy’ his wife called his comeback– a title for a tour if ever there was one. But on the evidence of this, just his fourth gig in 16 years, Britain’s pioneering anarcho-Marxist comedy star-cum-Mrs Marple actor has very little to fear.
Sure, at the age of 59, some of the feral aggression has gone, as have some of the old certainties. ‘Politics is a lot more complicated now,’ he says – but that could just as well be the effects of his broader life’s experience, not just the blurring of the old left vs right battle lines of the Eighties.
Sayle’s more recent work encompasses adverts for the Wild Bean Café, which might, he confesses, suggest a toning down of his firebrand tendencies. But hasn’t abandoned his beliefs altogether, with a closing routine that carries a reference to the Sabra and Shatila massacre.
But politics is – and always was – just one ingredient in the pie, and Sayle is just as happy doing pub gags about blind hippos going in to pubs, or observational routines deconstructing Casualty. In the wrong hands either could be hack, but Sayle has strong instincts and a rascally delivery that makes this effortless and fun. And while the full-on mania has gone, it’s been replaced by a more accessible, natural wit.
His own career informs much of his self-deprecating material, including a couple of well-pitched anecdotes from his brief stint as a novelty pop star, and an especially delightful piece about how Ben Elton – his successor as Comedy Store compere – got his own back after being the brunt of Sayle’s festering disdain for years. A couple of these segments are old material, but he still makes them feel fresh, thanks to the timing and genial presence it’s almost impossible to fake.
This isn’t a full comeback, but a tentative toe in the water as he fronts a series of cross-generational showcases in the Soho Theatre’s lovely basement club. And whether it’s what he’s doing on stage now, or the more unruly days he represents, but he engenders a playfully feisty atmosphere in the crowd, which rears its head a couple of times.
In the guise of her ant comedian, Bridget Christie largely baffles the audience, which is slightly surprising as such surreal oddness is surely a throwback to the best days of alternative cabaret. Even though her ridiculous parallels between the prejudices faced by female comedians and formic ones deserves better than this, she remains cheerfully stoic, insisting awkwardness was what she always planned as ‘laughter is undignified’.
Nonetheless, the audience really get into the spirit of things when she embarks on her ant based puns, with a series of perfectly-judged heckles all ending in ‘-ant’ – and the ensuing banter on both sides1 lifts the set.
No such disrespect is afforded Simon Munnery, who is given free rein to entertain with his pithy, oblique gags. He opens with a routine about killing dogs that’s skilfully inoffensive, before re-enacting an imaginary theological debate with Richard Dawkins, who is given the voice of a particularly pedantic EL Wisty. And all that’s relatively mainstream in comparison to his jauntily geeky song about the architects of the ill-fated R101 airship, which nonetheless hits the mark. His current tour, named after that track, is a return to form after a few years of treading water – and this charming, sharp set continued that winning streak.
The audience were back on their springs for Josie Long, vocally challenging her account that there was a time when people stood in front of their televisions for the National Anthem played at closedown came. But she handled it beautifully, calling up her expert witness, and creating a nice moment of spontaneity.
At the start of her set, she confessed it has been a while since she’d performed just 20 minutes – and in the event stayed on stage for what must have been about twice that, which seemed too long in the context of this showcase.
This aside, her political-tinged routine, with its key themes of fair taxation and universal free education can be a little soapboxy, but she wins through on puppyish charm and passionate conviction. But even she appeared shocked when her suggestion the Royals’ heads should be on spikes was so enthusiastically endorsed by what she considered a conservative audience – indicating Sayle’s fans haven’t entirely softened in their advancing middle age.
For despite his reservations about putting his hat back in the stand-up ring, this is his show, and even though he had penned only a few routines for the occasion, it certainly proved he can still be relevant – and more importantly funny – after his absence. It’s early days, but his legacy looks more than safe so far.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 25th Jan, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
Wednesday 31st Oct, '12- Soho Theatre
Thursday 9th Aug, '12- Assembly Rooms Fringe
Thursday 8th Mar, '12-
Thursday 25th Aug, '11-
Monday 16th Aug, '10-
Bridget Christie: My Daily Mail Hell - Fringe 2009
Sunday 23rd Aug, '09-
Show - Misc live shows - Friday 4th Jul, '08-
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2007 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 - Sunday 0th Aug, '05-
Monday 19th Jul, '04-
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Show - Misc live shows -
'My Daily Mail Hell' was my first exposure to Bridget Christie and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. The gig took place in a small studio at the Soho Theatre to an audience of two or three dozen people, so it was all a bit awkward at first but she won everybody over. The material was great and the set was cohesive - running at an hour I could happily have sat through another. nMy criticism would be that at times it felt a bit like a Russell Brand impersonation. That said, maybe Russell nicked it from Bridget - as I say, I hadn't seen her before.
Saw her at Stewart Lee's Night of Big Bangers at the BAC. She absolutely died, putting in probably the worst performance I've seen from a comedian. Terrible material, with personal anecdotes with no punchlines, and no actually interesting events, along with a really irritating cutesy delivery, which she self-consciously referred to when it became obvious she was dying. I felt, honestly, like she had no understanding of what a comedian is supposed to do. How she managed to win any award, never mind funniest women at the fringe when Josie Long and Sarah Millican were both there, is beyond me.
Saw Bridget on Robin Ince's Book Club at Latitude. She only had a 10 minute slot, which was a bit hurried and disorganised, but it was very amusing nonetheless. Appreciated her 'list' song about long-haired dogs (but there is room for improvement...may I humbly suggest the incorporation of the 'Bouvier Des Flandres' or 'Kooikerhondje' breeds?).
Saw her at Up the Creek tonight. She came on as "Dan Brown, the writer of the DaVinci Code." She tanked. She was supposed to come on again as Charles II, but decided not to. Based on the three or four minutes she did, I suspect character comedy may not be her thing. I'm sure she has talent, unfortunately it didn't shine through tonight.
Excellent. Playful, whimsical and you get the sense that she's invested a lot of herself in the act. Highly recommended.
Naturally funny, original and gorgeous. What more do the people want?
Brilliant. A very talented young woman. Reminds me of a young Jim Bowen.. not really.
Did the first slot at the Leicster Mercury Comedian Of The Year Award. Always a bad slot being first on, but did very very well, and set the benchmark for everyone else to follow,. Go and see her.
|'A brilliant clown capable of incredible subtlety'
Bridget Christie chooses her comedy favourites
07/03/2013 Permanent link
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contact by email
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Christie & Doyle's Axis Of Evil
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Bridget Christie: The Cheese Roll
Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Bridget Christie: The Court Of King Charles II
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Bridget Christie: The Court Of King Charles II The Second
Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Bridget Christie: My Daily Mail Hell
Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Bridget Christie: A Ant
Edinburgh Fringe 2011
Bridget Christie: Housewife Surrealist
Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Bridget Christie: War Donkey
Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Bridget Christie: A Bic for Her
Misc live shows
Funny Women Final 2004
Laughter In Odd Places