Bridget Christie at Latitude | Review by Steve Bennett © Stuart Hogben

Bridget Christie at Latitude

Review by Steve Bennett

She was the Friday headliner in the vast comedy tent, but there were still plenty of places to sit for Bridget Christie’s Latitude set. Perhaps that’s apt for a comedian who plays up her frustration at being low-status and overlooked, despite her convictions that she’s right. Her whole set – indeed her whole life, if her material is to be believed – is an agonised howl into the void.

Christie can’t believe normal life goes on in a post-truth world of Trump, Putin and Brexit, where feminism and other basic decencies still cannot be taken as a default position.

This show – and it is definitely a structured show rather than an extended set – is essentially her attempts to do observational comedy while continually being pulled back into the grim realities of the wider world that make her bits on kitchen appliances or bath bombs seem indulgent and trivial.  

Even when her seven-year-old daughter asks about Valentine’s Day, Christie imagines going into an extended rant about the monetisation of love, the exploitation of the insecure, the triggering of anxieties among the lonely and how capitalism skews the aims of what society should really be striving towards. So imagine what lectures she wants to launch into when given an audience to address….

Even the apparently innocuous observational routines lead to misery. Those bath bombs sting her arse, while her reflections on being in a long-term marriage are played out as the most drudging tedious conversation about the contents of the fridge, one long, banal scene of anti-comedy. And her children don’t interest her, as they’ve nothing in common.

Her very grudging acceptance that this is her lot now helps fuel the angry misery at her core, released as a biting sarcasm when ironically mocking the sexists’ cliched idea of when feminism is, or wondering if Theresa May’s unusually black mouth - which may have passed you by – reflects some sort of ethical black hole, too. Christie, by contrasts, finds no escape from moral outrage: even watching sitcoms riles up her sense of injustice. There’s no off switch on her indignity.

The result is an impassioned performance that never goes too far from reminding the audience what a bleak, cruel and unfair place this world is… which might not be the obvious best stance for comedy. Indeed, there are plenty of acts with a greater gag rate than her, but Christie’s alter-ego (the Gaulier graduates would surely call it her clown) is a distinctive, compelling presence, who offers mordant wit as we all go careering to hell in a handcart.

Review date: 14 Jul 2018
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Latitude

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