Home » London Theatre Reviews » Ashley Barnhill: TEXAS TITANIUM – Camden Fringe

Ashley Barnhill: TEXAS TITANIUM – Camden Fringe

The humour may be dark – there was the occasional audible gasp even amongst an unassuming and hardcore Monday night audience at the Camden Fringe – though there’s still a warm and welcoming presence that Ashley Barnhill brings to the stage. Y’all can take the lady out of Texas but the folksy and friendly Southern personality just can’t help but repeatedly seep through, even when talking about Bill Cosby and his criminal convictions. It was still daylight during the gig I attended: the show would have benefited, perhaps, from a later time slot, given its post-watershed content.

Ashley Barnhill
Ashley Barnhill

She’s trying, she says, to be less of an ‘asshole’: her interaction with some late arrival chatterboxes (yep, that sort of audience member) proved she’s succeeding in this regard, dealing with them with considerably more grace and civility than I’ve seen some other comedians tackle distractions of that nature. “I don’t know,” was something of a catchphrase, indicative of Barnhill’s conflicting thoughts on various issues. Being in a coma, for instance, after being hit by a car, meant she didn’t miss much, as the road traffic collision which put her in hospital happened in May 2020.

There were some refreshingly honest insights and opinions that go against contemporary opinion. She quite likes, for instance, being complimented by men, having taken the trouble to dress and style herself to look good, but this doesn’t sit right with current social norms, which have evolved to the point where commenting on a woman’s appearance, however positively, is frowned upon. She also resents how it’s no longer appropriate for men to buy her a drink, or indeed anything, an observation closed out with a perceptive punchline about the gender pay gap widening as a result.

Some other lines, though, simply can’t be quoted – and, out of context, could frankly get Barnhill cancelled. There’s a quiet confidence and assertiveness about her, and maybe, just maybe, having a brush with death has resulted in a comedy style that throws caution to the wind. Being able to look back on her accident, the subsequent hospital stay and the outpatient recovery period by cracking jokes about her experiences makes one grateful to even be alive, but without being subjected to saccharine levels of toxic positivity.

I wasn’t offended by any of Barnhill’s humour – some of it was close to the bone, but she knew when to draw back, and I’d like to think I know what a joke is. I also liked that she had enough material not to have to bother filling it with inane chatter with punters (does anyone go to standup comedy to find out what the names of the people in the front row are and where they come from?). This is edgy and provocative stuff, best enjoyed with a very, very open mind. Unlike the pro-lifers who, without understanding the irony, have issued Barnhill with death threats because she disagrees with them.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Texan Ashley Barnhill is a London based stand up, actress and filmmaker. She tours extensively 500+ shows with Dave Chappelle. You’ve seen her as a guest star on Netflix’s Maron & in Jason Reitman’s Sundance short film. Ashley trained at RADA & with Miranda Harcourt. She was the co-host of Sky & AMC’s official Gangs of London podcast & on WTF with Marc Maron. Ashley was writer on TBS’ Drop the Mic. She has directed & acted in many of her own festival winning short films. Ashley was on HBO in Ben Affleck & Matt Damon’s Project Greenlight for directors. & she has a law degree & a new titanium plated skull.

Related News & Reviews Past & Present

  1. Review of Sally’s Alright – Camden Fringe
  2. Death Suits You at Theatro Technis | Camden Fringe | Review
  3. Review of We Are Not Alone – Camden Fringe
  4. Malarkey at The Cockpit Theatre – Camden Fringe
  5. Reprehensible Men – Camden Fringe – Tristan Bates Theatre


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top