Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Angela Barnes: Come As You Are, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson
Belatedly crystallising her opinions into an impactful show about body issues, Angela Barnes is an engaging authority on the subject, laying bare the insecurities that have dogged her since she was a teenager.
Perceptive about society’s twisted veneration of beauty, she’s reached a point in her life where her self-deprecation has more or less successfully subsumed her self-loathing, and she finishes strongly with a powerful message of acceptance.
Unfortunately, the stand-up building up to this section, while perfectly fine for the most part, is considerably less remarkable.
Densely packed, and delivered assuredly as ever, there’s a polished sheen to the first half that contrasts unsatisfactorily with the more abrupt heart-rending to come.
And though she effectively seeds the origins of her mental struggles, it’s surrounded by more quotidian anecdotal humour.
Turning 38 has prompted some disquieting thoughts about getting older, nicely related, but not so distinct from so many other comics staring down the barrel of middle-age, while the creepy pick-up bible she introduces rather condemns itself.
By contrast, when she gets into the perverted logic of friends acclaiming her ability to snare her hot boyfriend, or the fact that you never see unconventionally beautiful people having sex on screen, she’s probing, original and provocative.
Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), run ended
Published in The Scotsman on 29 August 2015
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