Jen Brister is British(ish)
Wonderfully madcap look at identity
This article is from 2011.
Jen Brister has got it all going on in this splendid hourful of laughing till your face hurts. As a half-Spanish, ‘sepia’-tinged lesbian from London, the question ‘yeah, but where do you come from originally?’ led her to consider what it means to be British (ish). Dwelling on cultural difference – with her indomitable Spanish mother forcing herself into the heart of the show – there’s plenty of mileage in acutely observed national stereotyping, pornography, the mispronunciation of Coke, as well as bounteous things to admire about Brister’s performance.
Her excellent mimicry married with a frenetic presence makes it seem at times like the stage is heaving with a troupe of five. As well as brilliant observations of her mother – eschewing the mic so she can fully realise that lady’s impressive volume – she variously channels an exhaustingly cheerful Aussie mate, a pair of posh English women attempting an air-kiss and evokes some lesbian porn in one particularly memorable episode. Her expressive face, complemented by comic timing and knowing when to be still, underpin line after perfectly pitched line. Jen Brister puts the ‘b’ in subtle, somehow achieving that feat with extreme flamboyance and a madcap style.
The Caves, 556 5375, until 28 Aug, 8pm, £9–£10 (£7–£8).