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Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Bridget Christie/ Mark Steel/ Beth Vyse | reviews, news & interviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Bridget Christie/ Mark Steel/ Beth Vyse

Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Bridget Christie/ Mark Steel/ Beth Vyse

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Bridget Christie has broadened her target for withering political satire

Bridget Christie, The Stand ★★★★

Bridget Christie, the comic credited with bringing feminism to the fore with her 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Awards-winning show, broadens her target for withering political analysis and to great effect.

In A Book For Her (also the title of her recently published book) Christie guys herself in her opening line, telling us that 11am is the perfect time for comedy about gender-based violence - "or at misogynists' funerals, widows love it" - and that she's not really a feminist, as that was done for marketing purposes to sell the book.

There's a masterful take-down of Nigel Farage (an easy target for satire, yes, but never done as skilfully as this), who she says is a brilliantly postmodern comic creation; she pays tribute to "the Borat of the European Parliament" for  keeping in character, even when walking away from a plane crash.

In a show still a little rough at the edges and covering lots of territory in her mile-a-minute style, she addresses the current Labour leadership contest (cue much head-banging with the microphone), Jeremy Clarkson's recent notoriety, alleged left-wing bias at the BBC, Rachel Dolezal and the iniquities of the Conservative government.

There's a superlative segment in which she, in a series of reducing scenarios, imagines a future in which right-wing comics such as Jim Davidson and Roy Chubby Brown would find nowhere to perform as all the arts centres, women's refuges and "the room where they keep the Human Rights Act" would have been closed by David Cameron and Co.

The final section, about the unfairness of VAT on women's sanitary products but none on some sugery confectionary, is a little too lengthy and thin on the funnies, but she pulls it back magnificently with a clarion call for us to change that: George Osborne, be prepared for the onslaught.

Until 31 August

Mark SteelMark Steel, Assembly George Square ★★★★

Mark Steel has famously made his living out of being a grumpy left-wing comic and a (not so proud) son of Swanley in Kent, a place he is happy to diss all day long. As an adopted child, he has always believed that we are the product of our environment, not our genes, but when he started searching for his birth parents and uncovered a truly remarkable story he had cause to reconsider his views,

Before he starts his remarkable story in Who Do I Think I Am?, though, there's a rather long set-up about how his childhood shaped him and his politics; I could have done with less of that, and more - much more - of his search for Frances and Joe, the strangers whose brief meeting resulted in his birth.

Steel recounts how Joe is a mega rich American with connections to some rather unattractive capitalists, and through him he - a staunch republican - even has a royal connection. There are several details that seem barely believable and Steel tells it with an increasing air of bewilderment. The tale about Frances has more poignant moments and this is a terrifically engaging story told with aplomb.

Until 30 August

Beth VyseBeth Vyse, Heroes @ The Hive ★★★

We are greeted by a Dolly Parton lookalike with rubber bosoms and blonde wig. "It's my dream," she keeps shouting, the significance of which we realise later in the show, when the raucous fun takes a more serious turn.

Beth Vyse (pictured above by Idil Suka Draw HQ) starts As Funny As Cancer with a potted biography - a childhood spent in Stoke on Trent, whose industries of mining and potteries have moved to China and whose residents have a poetic way with the English language - and a meeting with Nelson Mandela that set her on her career path as an entertainer, which led to a stint as an actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

She mines a lot of laughs in this section, told with great affection for her family and friends, but the mood changes as she gets to the nitty-gritty - her diagnosis with breast cancer a few years ago.

Vyse asks members of the audience to be players - boyfriend, doctor - in her story; but the pace dips and the funnies are few and far between. It's a shame as she is an enormously likeable character with an important tale to tell but the raucous energy that fills the room at the start has been lost.

Until 30 August

There's a masterful take-down of Nigel Farage, who Christie says is a brilliantly postmodern comic creation

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