Review by Graham Finney
Harrogate Comedy Festival is in full swing by the time Angela Barnes arrives in town for the latest show on her Rose Tinted tour and, given the dreadful weather, there couldn’t have been a better place to spend a wet Tuesday night in Harrogate.
After a short intro by Barnes, which included the ex-nurse revealing how she ended up with third-degree burns from a hot water bottle, Angela’s support act and close friend, Phil Jerrod, spent thirty-odd minutes showing why, if you had to describe your ideal best mate, it would probably be something like him. While not fitting in with what society deems as normal for a male of his age, Jerrod chats openly about his dickhead wedding, why he hasn’t had kids, his love for the movie Dirty Dancing and his efforts to lose weight.
The thing that is most likeable about Jerrod is his blokish outlook on life. From the daily struggles Jerrod and his wife face living in a one bedroom flat in Brighton without a bathroom to being a bloke who owns a chihuahua to his dislike of cats, Jerrod is the kind of mate whose antics will always have you in fits but you know that, should you be in a bit of trouble or need a helping hand, he will have your back no matter what.
Midway through her seventy minute set, Angela Barnes laughs “I used to be a topical, political comedian, now I’m so over it I just don’t give a f**k!”. Like the rest of us, Barnes has given up on the Brexit circus and, while her set is still littered with material of Brexit/political slant, Rose Tinted is more of an insight into Barnes’ life experiences. From a fear of singing in public to dealing with her chronic anxiety, Barnes admits her life hasn’t been a bed of roses and there are times during the set when you feel like you just want to give her a massive hug.
However, one thing Barnes is and that is a fighter and she’s someone you’d definitely want on your side in a scrap. Through various therapists, Barnes explains how she channels her “inner Babs” to help her out although even that can cause problems for the comedian as she found when shopping for running shoes. Elsewhere she puts #metoo, social media trolls and her potty mouth under her microscope while wondering how the hell we ended up in a situation where Boris Johnson and Donald Trump ended up in charge of things.
Lambasting people who thought the ’80s were better, Barnes takes a look at the good old days while joking how boredom for people these days is “waiting for an app to load”. Unplanned Sunday afternoon family outings, the dangers of school playgrounds and more take a hit from Barnes as she leaves you realising that, she’s right, it was a bit shit back then.
At one point during the set, Barnes talks about a life changing moment where, during a car journey to Cardiff, a stop off at the Services sees her come out armed with a bunch of CDs resuming the journey happily singing along knowing no-one can hear her. After a minor technical glitch, the night ends with Barnes skipping off stage as a fantastic video of her singing along in her car to Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”.
The video morphs into one of Barnes overcoming her fears performing the song in front of 750 people before another good friend and top comedian Suzi Ruffell joins in the fun. At the beginning of the night Barnes admitted she felt like this was going to be “a bloody good night” and, by the end of the night, the audience file out into the rain knowing that, with wonderful people like Barnes and Jerrod to put smiles on our faces, we’re going to be just fine.