Angela Barnes: Come as you are
A rewarding self-analytical set after a chatty beginning
This article is from 2015.
'Reviewers always describe me as self-deprecating,' says Angela Barnes, just as this reviewer had written those very words down. But it’s hard to think how else to sum up her set, as she cheerily powers through the calamities of dating, sleepwalking and training as a nurse. Yet when she talks about growing up and what made her decide self-deprecation was the best defence mechanism, the tone moves beyond tolerable coming-of-age woes to something darker.
She discusses her perception of herself, with her appearance casting a long shadow (to massively understate the case), leading her battling to find an identity ‘and what I meant to the world’. So when the internet brought us 24/7 access to the school bully mentality, Barnes had to face a barrage of insults online when she should never have had to think twice about her attractiveness.
At times this is an unexpectedly sad look at struggling for self-acceptance. It’s also a lesson that it’s easy to take at face value what seemingly starts out as light-hearted stand-up, but proves to be deeper and more rewarding than expected.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17), 8.15pm, £8.50–£11 (£7.50–£10).