After last year’s storm-causing, award-winning, activism-inspiring show, it was hard to see how Bridget Christie would be able to better last year’s set.
Christie’s comedy is incredibly important.
As she says at the opening of the show, “I was hoping my feminist comedy show wouldn’t be very successful so I could give up work and be supported by my husband”. It is this deadpan style that allows numerous and wide-ranging issues relating to 21st century gender politics to come into play: there is a brilliant section about the utter ridiculousness of blaming rape victims for the crime committed against them. It is Christie’s fabulous style of delivery which allows her to engage with such heavy topics whilst maintaining a degree of humour about them. As per the rules of the 2014 Fringe Festival, every comedian must mention the upcoming Referendum, and Christie follows the trend. She does, however, manage to liven it up by requesting a referendum on leaving “the patriarchal system”, a lovely way of drawing attention not only to the patriarchy itself but also undermining various trends in comedy.
The criticism that can be levelled at Christie is that it occasionally feels as if her set sometimes descends into a lecture. There are points where Christie feels the need to explain issues that are fairly well-known and understood; there is a slightly overlong explanation as to exactly what the gendered issues involved with advertising are. This is a very small grievance with what is otherwise a strong and consistent set.
Christie’s comedy is incredibly important: she manages to make issues from rape apologists to the implicit and rife sexism in advertising to FGM instantly accessible and reminds her audience of the importance in actually doing something to combat gender inequality. The close of the show sees a serious moment about her work to draw attention to the FGM crisis. It is testament to Christie’s talent that she is able to spend a significant amount of time on a serious issue in a comedy set and the audience will still listen to her. A Bic for Her was undoubtedly a hard act to follow, but An Ungrateful Woman is Christie’s excellent and essential return to the Fringe.