Brighton Fringe 2008
White Trash in the White House
Tina ’08 sees self-proclaimed white-trash country singer Tina C – aka Olivier-award winning drag impresario Christopher Green – bring her campaign for the US presidential election to the Udderbelly.
Introduced by the somewhat solemn local choir The Brighton Rainbow Chorus, Tina strides onstage whilst large banners bearing her image in a stars and stripes boob tube and skimpy panties are hoisted either side of the stage. At 6”1 Tina is an imposing physical presence; with a whiter-than-white US perma-smile and legs up to her armpits, she is a pumped-up hybrid of Shania Twain with Mariah Carey’s vocal theatrics.
Thanks to the clever conceptual design of the show, Green’s satire has two simultaneous targets: American country music and American electoral politics, topics which he lampoons simultaneously and mercilessly. Green cleverly skewers electoral candidate’s faux-sincerity, parodying Hilary’s ‘tearful moment’ in a Portsmouth diner and Barack Obama’s empty sloganeering (his campaign slogan is The Audacity of Hope, matched by Tina’s Dauntlessness of Dreams). Consequently, he never runs short of material, and an hour feels too brief; given that the final section of the show was given over to an extended crowd singalong, this reviewer was certainly left wanting more.
Tina’s song titles provide the show’s most hilarious moments. It would be cavalier to give them all away in a review, but when I tell you that Tina’s hit single which ‘you all know, you’ve been listening to me sing it for years’ is called No Dick Is as Hard as My Life, and her previous album released post-September 11 was called 9/11, Twentyfourseven, you get the idea that you’re in for an edgy, raunchy comedy treat.
It was in this final section that Green fell victim to an overly reticent Udderbelly crowd. Seeking to recreate the fervent, emotional atmosphere of a campaign rally, Tina led a self-eulogising mass singalong and repeatedly exhorted the crowd to join the choir onstage. A grand total of five people made the short journey from seat to stage, and props to them for their bravery. Perhaps successive nights will see Tina fever catch on more fervently.