Edinburgh Fringe 2017
“Critically acclaimed stand-up Tiff Stevenson, who you may know from Mock The Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats and the BAFTA nominated People Just Do Nothing, or your dreams, she’s definitely been there. Some say she oscillates wildly between Sylvia Plath and Beyonce, like Belva Lockwood fused with your drunken aunt. Tiff says she’s very funny and a right old smarty-pants. She also says she’s very, very, very modest”
Bombshell is exactly what the title implies: an explosion of outrage; a hand-grenade of a monologue; one everyone should see and talk about for days and weeks and months to every person they know. It is that important. The show is wild and yet it is funny. It shakes up our preconceived notions about the world, society and ourselves and still it makes us laugh.
No topic is neglected here. Over-zealous liberals are called to task along with conservative right-wingers. Stevenson discusses the politics of attraction and says that straight white men don’t understand what the rules are for their behavior. “You can compliment a woman,” she says. “But she owes you nothing. “ It is the woman who must beware her response because every compliment is loaded with unsaid implications that she needs to understand. To illustrate, Stevenson discusses putting on her make up on a train that had a sign, “Please do not put on your make up here. This is not a bathroom.”
But Stevenson says it is a privilege for people to watch her fix her face. “It is like a show,” she says. “I start out a seven and end up a ten. That’s what it takes to be a woman in 2017.“
The fact that we need to do this is one of the ways society demeans women. “Now putting on my make up is my protest against diminishing the value of women.”
Tiff Stevenson has plenty to say about what the world has become. She maintains that decrying injustice is not enough. In fact, it means nothing at all. In reality, despite our protests, our marching, our outrage, nothing ever changes. She does not spare her own prejudices in her diatribe against lost values and skewed perspectives. No one is free from guilt. “We all have unconscious bias,” she says. “But we must question it and challenge it. Then we can move on and accept us as people.”
There is great deal of angry truth in this show. “2017 is even worse than 2016,” she says and then she discusses the Grenfell fire and its frightening implications. It took place in Kensington, a place that has the highest disparity between the rich and poor. She says the reporting of it was as outrageous as the disaster itself because the reporters put their need to get a story above the importance of what actually happened. They wanted as much sensationalism as they could get. There was no compassion for the survivors who were in shock, traumatized by a horrific experience that will scar them for life.
She points out that the advertising industry is trying to sell us a toxic life style and asks us what ads really tell us. She points out the difference between the ads for woman that make them feel ugly and unclean and those for men. “I don’t have the answers for the way women are sold products,” she says, “But there is no nut wash for men.”
Tiff Stevenson casts a searing light on the foibles and mis-steps we all have allowed to happen in our lives and on our way of thinking. She is angry and she wants us to share her outrage . She tells us to notice what is happening and stop justifying the way we think and act toward one another “Just until we all feel better.”
I cannot think of a more important way to spend an hour than to listen to Tiff Stevenson‘s take on what we call civilization. This show is a profound and volatile analysis of what is going wrong in our world today. It is also a very wise and funny piece of political and social comedy.