Lorenzo Pacitti

Edinburgh Fringe review: Jim Campbell’s Personal Space

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Jim Campbell is a pleasure to watch perform. He is warm, engaging and, crucially, very funny.

These attributes as a stand-up lend themselves well to his new show, Personal Space, as he invites his audience to join him on a nostalgia filled-hour inspired by a day clearing out his bedroom.

The intimate room is immediately on-side with Campbell as he starts with some crowd work that doesn’t feel forced or demanding, like he genuinely does want to get to know the room.

There is a lot to connect with in Jim’s show – lots to sympathise with and relate to. Despite the variety of ages in the room, there is plenty shared laughter and experience, as Jim covers everything from old school friends to family and love. The show never resorts to wallowing in its darker moments or to pomposity in its prouder moments. Jim is very measured in his approach to sensitive subjects such as break ups and keeps the show light throughout.

In a nostalgic show such as this, often elements of the material have the potential to alienate groups of the audience. It’s likely that the pensioners in the crowd will fell they don’t share the life experiences of a 30-odd year old comedian, and that the youngsters won’t have experienced much of the topics discussed. This happens now and again in the show, not helped by Campbell’s universal appeal, giving him an incredibly varied group to work with.

The show never drags or feels slow, however, there were times I wished it would kick on. Jim provides us with a great hour of nostalgic comedy without ever pushing boundaries or tackling stronger subjects that it’s clear he is capable of.


Date of live review: 8 August 2014 @ The Wee Coo, Underbelly

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