I have to admit to a certain amount of trepidation as I made my way into Craig Campbell’s show. The sold-out audience were crabby from waiting in the rain and already mobbing the bar (open throughout the show) ordering WKD Blues.
But Campbell’s entrance acted as an instant soother and uniting force. As he high fived an excitable man towards the front, who couldn’t help but stand up to greet him, you got the impression that he carries genuine love for everyone in the room.
He opens by talking about the weather, a well-worn subject that’s beginning to get on my nerves this Fringe. But he approaches this from a viewpoint of someone who knows the country and our climactic oddities well. He’s actually spent time in Scotland and knows what he’s talking about, and this lends his material believability beyond the observations of a first timer who has, shockingly, noticed it’s raining.
He’s also the first comic I’ve seen to cover the events in Norway, but doesn’t try to be dark or edgy with it. He has the audience both in stitches, and wanting to go out and find a Norwegian to hug.
Campbell’s material at times carries the potential to be deeply disturbing – an anecdote about his mountaineering experience will stay with me for some time – but he carries them all off with such immense likeability that the dismay is never uncomfortable. He combines simple pleasure principle with an innocent naivety and a face that would let him away with murder.
Craig Campbell, Stand III, 9pm, 5-28 August (not 15) £10http://www.thestand.co.uk