Comedy review: Angela Barnes: Fortitude

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe:

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)


A self-confessed history nerd, Angela Barnes has a fascination with nuclear bunkers. The south London comic traces her obsession to a childhood growing up at the end of the Cold War – and to being born six weeks early – leading her to crave the safety of small spaces.

Now 40, Barnes has decided she doesn’t want kids of her own – although she has found herself in a proper mature relationship.

In her beautifully structured show, she weaves together memories of her concrete-bound childhood with notions of historical time and musings on her own biology. It is introspective but fairly universal ground and Barnes has an easy confidence with her material and a sense of being comfortable in her own skin.

Her jokes are neatly crafted and her observations draw recognition from the crowd.

She may be part of a Peter Pan generation, but Barnes has defined her own adulthood – and she defies anyone who dares to try to limit her choices in life.

She ends with a broad political flourish – which shows she has the confidence and wit to demolish the politicians and the pundits who try to tell other people how to live.

Until 27 August. Today 7:15pm.