Sofie Hagen enters the stage, seemingly nervous despite her extensive experience on the comedy circuit. She titters about the heat in the room, and suggests we remove some layers, then quips about the hilarity of her asking the audience to get naked. It’s a fairly amateur start to what we know Hagen can deliver – a consummately professional hour of sophisticated humour. Perhaps it’s just nerves, as once she gets in her groove, she is the quick witted Danish dazzler we know her to be. Launching into a tremendous tirade on how her Danish Queen is superior to our English Queen, she suggests that her queen ‘pisses in the mouth of our Queen’. Her monarch blanked Putin at a dinner; has a "side hustle" as a costume designer; translated Lord of the Rings into Danish, and smokes and eats kebabs.
An hour of slick observational comedy that will leave you slack jawed and needing more answers
The main premise of the performance is that Hagen has an impaired memory, and that in an attempt to protect herself from trauma, her brain develops false memories to account for how various events have unfolded throughout her life. She gives a few low key examples, for example her strawberry allergy, which builds enough momentum for us to understand the premise of what she’s getting at. (We will also require to utilise theatrical license and dismiss the fact that repressed memory syndrome has been largely disproven by psychological professionals.) Hagen’s account of her sex trip to Swansea weaves its way throughout the performance, allowing for some extremely funny one liners – for example the name of the place sounds so beautifully lovely that once she actually visits, she feels like she’s been "catfished by a town".
Hagen has prefaced her performance by noting that she’s not going to delve as deeply into mental health as she has for the last few years, as her therapist has advised her that she’s retraumatising herself by doing so. And as the show develops, on a surface level we are existing on the understanding that she’s not digging deep with any of what she’s saying. And then we get to the last five minutes of the show, where she delivers a massive sucker punch which expertly packages everything she’s mentioned throughout the show. It’s all packed into a profound narrative in keeping with exactly the type of poignant politics we’ve come to know and love of Hagen, and we understand the true purpose of her "noise cancelling headphone brain".
Bumswing is Swansea! Shame town, twinned with Skamby in Denmark, Hagen’s home town. And in this hour of anecdotal humour, we learn more about why half the vegan population hate Hagen; about the saddest version of E.T., and just how much she hates magicians with their "repulsive, smug, cunty faces". An hour of slick observational comedy that will leave you slack jawed and needing more answers. It’s not her job to undertake the emotional labour to deliver them to you though, and that’s a key message of the show.