Now & Then
Jen Brister @ The Tuxedo Cat – Alley Cat
8:15pm, Sat 17 Mar 2012
I’ll always have a soft spot for Jen Brister after her 2011 show; it lifted me out of the stressful emotional funk that I was in at the time and somehow made everything better. But after this year’s show – originally scheduled to be at The Mansions – started appearing as “Cancelled” in the Fringe App, I feared that I’d not be able to see her this time around. Then I bumped into Jen and Markus Birdman one night – Jen had shifted venues to the TuxCat, and grabbed a much more convenient timeslot!
As I grabbed an espresso at the TuxCat’s foodie place before the show, Jen appeared next to me – “You coming in tonight?” she asked in that gorgeous accent. “Please excuse me… I’m hungover as fuck.” And that made me smile.
It’s a decent crowd for the Alley Cat, and I get the feeling there’s a few there on their Artist Pass; regardless, it’s a jovial room without the sneering or snideness that one might expect later on St. Patrick’s Day. And if Brister was hungover, she certainly didn’t act like it: she was bright and effervescent, with a wonderful stage presence – her hand gestures when impersonating her mother are a well-observed work of art. And, whilst some of her material this evening was somewhat familiar, her family still provides a wealth of content – the tale of her brothers pissing on her was fantastic. And, despite her protestations, the reluctant presentation of her red tights at the end of the show was a brilliant theatrical conclusion.
Despite a slightly darker drug story, Now & Then was largely upbeat and compassionate… and funny, let’s not forget funny. Brister’s writing is sharp-as-a-tack, and her delivery is fantastic… she’s most certainly still in my good books.
(The following night, at the Fringe Awards, I bumped into Jen again – “Thanks for coming last night,” she said, “that was one of my best shows.” Which, I guess, shows what a quality hangover can do.)