Grace Campbell @ Gilded Balloon, Teviot

A promising debut from confident new comedian Grace Campbell

Review by Eve Livingston | 04 Aug 2019
  • Grace Campbell

Grace Campbell is the way she is, she tells us, because she has been competing with Tony Blair her entire life. The daughter of infamous Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell, this is Campbell’s debut Fringe hour and it focuses firmly on her relationship with her divisive father.

Why I’m Never Going Into Politics ultimately comprises of a list of anecdotes and qualities which Campbell says make her unsuitable for public office. Many will have come to hear about growing up inside one of Britain’s most influential political families, and they won’t be disappointed – material about meeting Vladimir Putin’s wife and children aged 10 and going to a Miley Cyrus concert with Boris Johnson is some of Campbell’s strongest – but we’re also given an insight into Campbell as an individual, with jokes about sex and drugs more forthright than audiences might expect.

Campbell is an accomplished performer, though some material verges on infantile when juxtaposed with clever explorations of international diplomacy and her memories of the Iraq War aged 9. The overall structure is strong and prescient, with Campbell ultimately critiquing the hyper-masculine, antagonistic mode of politics that has defined the UK throughout her life. At points the weaker material rambles slightly but there always seems to be a brilliant anecdote to follow and regain the momentum she has ably built.

Why I’m Never Going Into Politics is a confident debut from a promising new comedian. She may never go into politics, but audiences will be pleased she went into comedy instead.

Grace Campbell: Why I'm Never Going Into Politics, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Wee Room), until 26 Aug (not 13), 3.15pm, £9-£11