COMEDY – Who do you think you are? Barbara Brownskirt, resident bus stop poet

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[star rating =4/5]

I left this show wondering, where on earth did she come up with that?

The hilarious universe of Karen McLeod’s show, ‘Who Do you think you are? Barbara Brownskirt.’, features poet-in-residence at the 197 bus stop in Penge, South-East London. The show debuted at Brighton Fringe last year, and is now in Edinburgh for the first time in the hope that the star can “bring down the patriarchy”.

The early-evening audience is semi-welcomed by Barbara into her bitter-sweet world of being an unknowingly rubbish lesbian poet. With a black anorak tightly pulled around her face, and knee-high pop socks below her brown skirt she takes the audience of ladies, and “non-ladies” on a bizarre poetry reading featuring the observations of her life.

Barbara Brownskirt is in the midst of writing an Epic poem, hates “the patriarchy” – which she thinks is all things Jeremy Clarkson, is still bitter about her one ex-girlfriend in 1999, and has some real mummy issues – with Dame Judi Dench.

The fictional character of Barbara Brownskirt is played by established author Karen McLeod, who is the writer-in-residence at The bookseller Crow Bookshop in South East London and tours with the nationwide Polari LGBT Literary Salon, running workshops and performing. This is her first solo-piece of theatre.

Throughout the piece Karen pokes fun at a lot of “womben’s issues”, questioning “who put the ‘Men’ in ‘Menstruation’?”. Barbara Brownskirt is angry, and anxious, and really bad at flirting. This piece of theatre is totally bizarre, but totally loveable, and the audience sniggered along with the comedy and the questionable style of poetry.

I’m forgiving, but sorry that she’s only 400,000 words into her Epic, as I’m sure with a little more time Barbara Brownskirt can only improve.