Reviewed by Eilis Lee.
I leave comedian, body positivity activist and author Sofie Hagen’s The Bumswing with a few rather wonderful things. An increased appreciation for comedy’s storytelling power, for one, as well as a slight sense of awed shock; Silk’s timeless anthem Freak Me stuck in my head for the next few hours, and a free button-badge emblazoned with a truly fantastic image of the Danish queen scoffing some bacon.
These things may appear somewhat unrelated, but the fact that Hagen can construct an hour of well-crafted, meaningful comedy around such seemingly disjointed subjects is testament to her story-telling and joke-crafting skills. Centred around ideas of memory and trauma—the trauma of a fateful but blurry trip to sexy, sexy Swansea, to be exact—The Bumswing is intensely personal comedy that manages to stay (mostly) light-hearted, despite the recorded intro’s declaration of “I hope you like comedy about emotional abuse!” Exploring her own, admittedly shocking memory, Hagen covers ground from why the Windsors have nothing on the aforementioned, bad-ass Danish monarch to an unforgettable — for most — incident involving twelve-year-olds and fowl.
The set can sometimes meander along the way, although Hagen’s interactions with a Swede in the audience and impressions of her Danish mother are enjoyable digressions. But Hagen tightens up in the show’s second half to deliver a final, powerful gut-punch that pulls her comic threads together perfectly. It takes balls to do what Hagen does within the last ten minutes of her show. Though the near-full audience takes a while to warm up, they are, by this point, stunned.
As am I: disarmed by Hagen’s promise of a blithe show and by the slightly baggier first half, the set’s ending is pretty astounding, and really, really funny. Hagen mixes trauma, hilarious anecdote and tale-telling skill in brilliantly funny ways and ends on a high. It’s something you really have to see for yourself – if you want light-hearted but hard-hitting comedy this Fringe, take a seat on The Bumswing.
Sofie Hagen: The Bumswing runs at Pleasance Queen Dome until 25th August.