Brighton Fringe 2017
Tina C is the multi-award-winning country music singer who went from White Trash almost to the White House. In her sensational autobiography ‘Complete and Utter Country’ she outlined her two failed bids for the Presidency. In this new show she reflects on being John the Baptist to Trump’s Jesus Christ, which is billing she is not pleased about. How has the presidency changed since Washington and how much does Donald J. owe to Tina C. All of this whilst singing top country music songs from her new album about falling in love.
“So happy to be here in the UK formally known as Europe let me hear you say Hell yeah!”.
Tina C arrives on stage.…in full country outfit, sparkly and sassy gently mocking us, our own constructed yet deeply futile modern capitalist patriarchy and of course ‘herself’ – throwing back multi layered humorous metaphorical winks at our perceptions, assumptions and expectations of transgender performers. Tina quickly endears the audience to her and creates a warm and theatrical atmosphere in this ‘tent’ on an ‘intersection’. Straight away we are in her world.
Michael Moore once said in a bittersweet moment during an interview about his documentary on the state of gun law in the USA that “Sometimes I have to laugh sometimes about it……because if I don’t……I will just cry”.
Throughout the show I was reminded this and as I closely watched Tina C played by Chris Green I was struck by his ability to create a light, fun and sparkly show but that this humour came, in my mind, from a place of darkness and frustration with the current political world events. Indeed although the almost packed house was kept in a fine mood throughout with much laughter, a friend noted to me afterwards that this felt subdued compared to his many previous performances. If so it was subtle and held in check by a convincing, intelligent and witty one woman show full of witty and thought provoking dichotomous social comment. I am embarrassed to say after having come into this show with no previous knowledge or experience of Chris’s work that it took me a little longer than it should have for me to realise he actually wasn’t American and wasn’t on tour. Sorry, did I spoil it? I must have been the only person in the audience who has never seen Green perform as they all delighted in his boldly realistic portrayal of a country and western drag queen. Meticulous attention to detail, consistent, though sometimes repetitive mannerisms, and live music took us into Tina Cs world with artistry and professional commitment. Though the devised and original songs were mostly humorous and/or political, one song at the end allowed Green to find a tender heart to this multi layered performance.
Satirical though lovable, Tina C takes through the horrors of Brexit and Trump in a way that voices ‘Bright-Towns’ despair and horror without bringing the mood of the room down. We are offered hope, healing and salvation through the darkly ironic evangelical lovin’ croons of a non specific gender country singer, as we hug each other and line dance and sway with our arms in the air to Purple Rain (“wait for the high note……only dogs in Whitehawk can hear me now)…
All the prejudices and sociopolitical issues get smoothly raised here and there are moments when I am mesmerized at by Chris’s obvious grasp of the complexities of modern society and how he chooses to explore this. Perhaps like many comedians he knows that just another angry man on stage won’t help things….sometimes, like Moore, you just need to laugh.
“Don’t go independent Bright-town, you only got vegan hairdressers and driftwood earrings otherwise……stay connected!”. Highly recommended.