Angela Barnes is a name I have followed for quite a while now, and I’ve even interviewed her, but only recently found the opportunity to see her perform live at the MAC in Birmingham: a preview of her second stand up show, Come As You Are.
Things have been changing for Angela in recent times. She has found love, had various strange health hiccups and her friends have all started having children. And though she is keen to share all that she has learned with her audiences, it is clear that her adventures and successes career-wise have not gone to her head. Her general demeanour on stage is very approachable and friendly, which made the whole affair feel a little like a lovely, small village meeting rather than a stand up show, particularly as a result of the decision to abandon the microphone early on.
The show itself oozed competence and natural flair, despite it being a work-in-progress with infrequent pauses and note scribbling (which was of course to be expected). The content fitted together well and it felt as though we, as an audience, left feeling like more of a collective, such is the relatability of Angela’s material.
This new hour contains multiple incredibly dark elements (a sick reference to Nigella Lawson here, an anecdote about a lonely pensioner there) which seem to crop up out of nowhere and really lifted the whole experience to a new level. Often following up her delightfully grim comments with questions like “was that too dark?” as though that’s a bad thing makes me worry that Angela might actually remove them from the show, but I greatly hope that she keeps them in. I’d argue that there’s still room for her to add more.
Angela Barnes is currently performing preview shows of Come As You Are across the UK and will be taking the completed show to Edinburgh in August.