BWW Review: GRACE CAMPBELL: WHY I'M NEVER GOING INTO POLITICS, Soho Theatre
Grace Campbell's Why I'm Never Going into Politics is a mash-up of political anecdotes, infused with some MEGA gossip from Grace's childhood spent hanging out with the Blairs, Putins and Corbyns. Her dad is Alistair Campbell, wingman to Tony Blair during the 1990s in a particularly eventful political moment.
Her style is anecdotal, not at all gag-heavy, and frequently lewd. She paints a disgustingly vivid image of an occasion where David Miliband had "the most severe case of conjunctivitis", and she balances her political goss out with tales about her relationship and sex life.
She admits she's toned down the vagina chat after it caused offence to some reviewers in her previous shows, but she hasn't really. She's deliberately provocative in this way, probably because she knows she's likely to be put under the microscope more because of her heritage. It gives her stage presence an arrogance which I enjoyed immensely.
Why I'm Never Going into Politics is held together by Grace's perspective on... erm, why she is never going into politics. Her insight is fascinating, and she makes some illuminating comments on how to be engaged with politics without having to get involved with the archaic structures of it. She was a part of affecting a Government policy through Free Periods, for example, which allocates money to schools and colleges to provide easier access to sanitary products.
Her entrance into comedy sounds like a baptism of fire. Campbell folds a deeply intelligent awareness about the scrutiny she is likely to face because of her dad into her show, opening with a slideshow of quotes from middling to negative reviews from its first run at the Edinburgh Fringe.
The majority assert that she talked about her vagina too much and insinuate that her feminist perspective stands at odds with her commentary on politics. One of her jokes centres around how she was once questioned about why she didn't do something to stop the invasion of Iraq in 2003... when she was nine years old. She weaves these criticisms and curiosities into the show. Which is what makes it so good. It could be a pretty insecure move, but it's not. She turns self-awareness into delicious defiance.
Grace Campbell returns to Soho Theatre on 6 April