FRINGE REVIEW – James Campbell’s Comedy and Songs for Kids


7-29 August 14:30 (15:30) @ Assembly George Street

By the McNaughton fanily review team

Our junior reviewers went along to see James Campbell’s Comedy and Songs for Kids today hoping for a good laugh, having not ‘got’ much of the rather too adult humour at a show they’d attended earlier in the day.

No problems figuring out the humour in James Campbell’s show – he was immediately working at their level as he started his show by warning one small boy that he should sit in the centre of his tip-up seat to avoid being eaten by it! 

James’ brand new comedy show is a mixture of songs and stand-up and guaranteed to get all the audience laughing along with his wry anecdotes about being a child and what it’s like to have a child.  Lots of the performers we’ve been seeing at the Fringe this year seem to have reached the stage of having children themselves and finding that looking at the world through a child’s eyes is providing a rich seam of comedy. 

James is accompanied by keyboard and ukele player Helen Arney (who has her own show for adults) – who at one point almost choked laughing at one response to a 3-year old heckler in the audience, and had to leave the stage to compose herself!  Having an audience of children in the after-lunch spot, some of whom just can’t make it through the performance without needing to slope out to the toilet provides James with an opportunity to ad lib uproariously.  He even suspects that one adult is taking a child along to cover up for the fact that it’s really the adult who needed to go.

James performs songs about pets, farmyard animals, being tall and even borrows a cuddly toy from someone in the audience to use as a musical instrument, assuring the child who he borrows it from that he’ll return it after the show. 

The show’s guidelines suggest an age range of 6+, but with the range and subject matter on offer we’d suggest that 4+ is more realistic, and perhaps not really a show pitched at teenage children, although we suspect they’d laugh too if they had to go along to take younger brothers and sisters.

If you’re too late to book tickets for this year, or have to go back to school this week, then make a note to see James Campbell at next year’s Fringe – we’re sure you’ll have lots of laughs.

Added comments by Helen (12): “Really, really funny.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

Added comments by Alex (8): “He was funny. You could say hilarious, because that means really funny.”

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