It’s been another amazing August for us at Bouquets & Brickbats. We’re exhausted after a month of non-stop theatre and comedy! We have seen some absolutely fantastic stuff, covering a huge range of ideas. Here’s our pick of the best we’ve seen at this year’s Fringe:
Neontopia / Wales Millennium Centre – A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders
Aurora Nova – The Blind Date Project by Bojana Novakovic
Rainbow Class by Vivienne Acheampong
Gaggle Babble / National Theatre Wales – Wonderman by Daf James
Something for the Weekend – Royal Vauxhall by Desmond O’Connor
NJC Productions – The Way the City Ate the Stars by Will Greenway
George Dillon – Stunning the Punters (& Other Stories) by Berkoff, Sproat and Dostoevsky
Lorenzo Novani – Cracked Tiles by Lorenzo Novani
Impi Theatre Company – The South Afreakins by Robyn Paterson
Bridget Christie’s 2016 Edinburgh Show, Mortal, is essentially a rallying cry – yes, it’s funny and yes, she’s still shows she’s one of the best comedians of the modern age, but this is really a post-Brexit call to arms. “We risk the total collapse of social cohesion in this country,” she says – and we need to do something about it. We can’t rely on our politicians; they’ve proven themselves to be corrupt and incompetent. But we are not powerless, and we can, for example, stand up and object when we see acts of racism (which have increased five-fold since the ‘leave’ side won – and no, of course not every leave voter is racist but, by God, those who are certainly feel empowered).
She’s angry – that much is clear. So angry about the reckless way that David Cameron has gambled with the nation’s future, that she has abandoned her planned show about mortality and written this new one in response to the Brexit debacle. It’s too important – too compelling a subject for her to ignore.
Christie has an energy that somehow makes her apoplectic rants endearing; she physicalises her fury like an impotent toddler, which aptly symbolises the way many of us feel in the wake of the EU referendum. An extended routine lambasting Michael Gove’s “people in this country have had enough of experts” nonsense is both hilarious and devastating, and her take-down of the Daily Mail is particularly acute.
Hurrah, then for Bridget, and commiserations to us all. We’re totally fucked. But at least she makes us laugh while she articulates the shit we’re in.
Bridget Christie arrives at Ed Fest 2014 with a huge weight of expectation balanced on her shoulders. Last year, her show was voted the overall ‘Best Comedy’ and as she herself wryly acknowledges, few critics thought that a series of routines based around the subject of feminism would be able to fuel a SECOND hour! Well, the naysayers can take an early both because Christie’s nervy, effervescent performance demonstrates that she is total control of her material. Expertly walking a tightrope between laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely thought-provoking, she brings a whole series of topics to the party – FGM, rape, the exploitation of women in advertising – and knows exactly how to bring her audience back from the edge of disaster with a perfectly timed quip. An extended routine about a Mueller Yoghurt commercial is just one of many highlights in this triumphant performance. As with any preview show, there were a few small issues with timing and continuity but make no mistake, if you are at the festival this year, here is one show you simply mustn’t miss.