'There's a time and a place for that', says Bridget Christie of serious political talk about feminism, 'and eleven in the morning in a comedy show is not it'. Yet here we are, hearing an impassioned and persuasive polemic on just that topic, at eleven in the morning, in a show whose sense of comedy is deeply ingrained in its politics: thoughtful, subversive and urgent.
The show is a series of observations and arguments about feminism. It's similar in tone and topic to last year's War Donkey, but it's tighter this time, more consistent and has better links. It also feels less theoretical than War Donkey; Christie is more embroiled in the whole movement, recounting her experiences writing about feminism for women's magazines, engaging in civil disobedience and making her Radio 4 show.
Early in Bic For Her, Christie builds more instability and vulnerability into her on-stage persona, riffing relentlessly on Sir Stirling Moss's claim that women 'have the strength' to be racing drivers but lack the ‘mental aptitude', with ever-increasing levels of vitriol and derangement. Christie takes more ownership of the show's opinions as it progresses. One of the best sections asks why humourlessness should seem like a valid accusation about feminism, reminding us, via the power of re-enactment, why Martin Luther King never opened with a joke. The finale, which quotes from – and shares an audio recording of – Malala Yousafzai, the young girl who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' education, is particularly touching.
The bravest parts of Bic For Her are those that buck the conventional wisdom of the liberal-left audience that Christie is likely to attract. She is no radical and, in this setting, her support for opt-in laws for Internet porn and her insistence that Thatcher is a formidable role-model for girls, might be her most controversial opinions. It's a shame, though, that the title motif, concerning Bic's women-only Biro alternative, is the show's safest and least original material, already largely precluded by the product's infamous Amazon reviews. If this was the source of her material, it is uncredited in the show.
Perhaps there is some truth after all in the idea that men and women are capable of using different tools. I don't think a man could have written Bic For Her. I mean, we'd have the physical strength maybe, but Bridget Christie's mental aptitude would be difficult for anyone to match.