Shelley Bridgman

Shelley Bridgman

Transsexual comic who started stand-up in 2004 under the stage name Shelley Cooper before reverted to her real name.
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Shelley Cooper: Reality Cheque

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

There is an understandable note of regret when Shelly Cooper details her fall from playing gigs at the Gilded Balloon to performing in a backroom at The Counting House.She plays it down by enthusing about the positive ethos of free comedy, but it’s clear where she would rather be.

Watching her show, you do wonder why she isn’t playing a bigger venue, if only so she didn’t look so constricted on the poky stage.

Billed as ‘hard-hitting and spiteful’, Cooper is a fairly old-fashioned combination of bitchiness and sharp observations. She is transgendered, a fact from which much of her material springs, but which she wisely does not base her entire routine on.

Cooper wryly describes how, as a father, her decision to start dressing as a woman prompted concern from several corners, including the local Catholic church. Not necessarily, as she points out, an institution with a blemish-free record in the sexual deviancy department. It’s an obvious gag, but due to her apparently genuine indignation at the situation she was faced with, it comes across well.

She comes up with some equally amusing observations on topical affairs, pulling out a wonderfully daft skit in which she imagines an apocalyptic vision of the world under global warming. None of it is particularly fresh, but she is idiosyncratic enough to distract from that.

The only element that detracts from her performance is her on-stage fidgeting, not helped by a defunct microphone. She looks wary of the audience and is nervy when interacting with them, occasionally making provocative barbs, but then attempting to retract them. It seems at odds with her ballsy, no-nonsense material.

Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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Published: 1 Jan 2007


Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2006

Shelley Cooper Rewrites History

Edinburgh Fringe 2007

Shelley Cooper: Reality Cheque

Edinburgh Fringe 2008

Shelley Cooper: Britishness


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