Too few Fringe performers hand out leaflets containing their research materials as suggestions for further reading. Angela Barnes is a secret nuclear bunker obsessive and happened to spend her 40th birthday in one with her boyfriend, when the news that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States came through loud and clear on the radio. Up until that point, Barnes had been enjoying the solitude provided by the concrete getaway and honoured by her boyfriend – but now it seemed that world events meant they were better off living there forever.
Barnes hands down wins the Best Punning Title Of The Fringe Award I Just Made For This Very Purpose And Awarded Myself Shush Now. Her adept observations of pointing out the flaws in social mores, particularly surrounding her personal business of choosing not to have children, are straightforward and highlight the absurdity of how commonplace that kind of small talk is, even now. Her self-analysis of why she likes nuclear bunkers and her own space – her father deems her a “claustrophile” – which she tracks back to her being a tiny premature baby is touching and hilarious in equal measure.
There are still some broad gags about the self-stimulation habits of teenage boys and women’s body hair but if these are the appeals Barnes makes in order to get the mainstream involved in the more niche aspects of her message then so be it, it’s worth it. She finishes the show with the news that she is selling 15 tickets for a special show in the nuclear bunker in Fife. I highly recommend you try to be one of those lucky few.
Angela Barnes’ Fortitude runs until 27th August at the Pleasance Courtyard, 19:15.