Having grown up around politics, Grace Campbell has elected to never become a politician herself and has attracted a full audience to hear why.
The daughter of journalist and former Labour party spokesman Alastair Campbell opens her show with a joke which falls slightly flat, falling into that age-old trap of attempting to shock, as so many comedians do unnecessarily. She is bright, though, and brings the room back quickly, blaming most of her personality flaws on Tony Blair. She had to compete for her father’s attention with the former Prime Minister, you see, and so proceeds with an entertaining set, openly admitting her comedy could hardly be described as ‘relatable’ given her upbringing.
She has clear pride in her parents as she lets the audience in on some home truths about her father’s work and the reasons why she believes her mum deserves to be known as far more than just ‘Alastair Campbell’s wife’.
Her honesty is well-received as she shares some unflattering personal anecdotes about, for example, bullying a famous pop star and having the confidence of an Eton schoolboy, despite being a state-educated, insecure, reggae-loving youngster. There are points, however, when she slips into representing exactly the kind of millennial most of her audience don’t understand. Once again, remarks attempting to shock don’t sit all that well amongst her more confident material on activism and the entertaining snippets from her childhood.
Campbell’s stage presence is undeniable and she is intelligent enough that she need not rely on the popular tropes of sexual experiences and drug-taking to get her point across. Her sincerity when she talks about being able to change things without stepping foot in Westminster is impressive and she is able to make her point without losing humour. More of that and less of the predictable gags will hold her in good stead as she carves out what will surely be a successful career in comedy.