Ro Campbell: Uttering Bad Shillings

Article by Bernard O'Leary | 09 Aug 2011

One of Ro Campbell's worst moments was, ironically, when he won a big award. Campbell sounds Australian, although his real identity is muddled, and the award was 2010 Scottish Comedian Of The Year. The assembled Scots were unhappy, to say the least.

It caused Campbell to examine his heritage and the result is this assured and promising Fringe debut. His great-great-great-grandmother was exiled to Australia in the 18th century for the crime of forgery, or "Uttering Bad Shillings". Campbell starts with a great re-enactment of his reception at the SCOTY awards (working in a brilliant dig at Kevin Bridges) and works backwards, through a childhood in Australia and Nepal, to the various crimes of his ancestors.

Campbell is a great stand-up and an exceptional storyteller. Recollections of his past burst so vividly into life that they could have been directed by James Cameron, especially the story of an acid-fuelled epiphany in the Australian Outback. He hasn't quite worked out how to best blend these two abilities yet, but Uttering Bad Shillings is a bloody good attempt at it. A classic festival debut, with a meaty story and the promise of even better shows in years to come.

Ro Campbell: Uttering Bad Shilings, The Stand IV, Aug 4-28 (not 15th), 22:35, £7/£8