Jim Campbell: Trampoline | Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney
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Jim Campbell: Trampoline

Edinburgh Fringe review by Paul Fleckney

It’s not a nice thing to see a comic visibly hurting. Jim Campbell’s disengagement to his ex-fiancee led to a breakdown and his return to the Edinburgh Fringe for the first time in four years. You don’t have to be a mindreader to tell that it’s still raw, but Campbell can at least be consoled that from the rubble he’s constructed a funny and thoughtful comeback show.

Campbell goes back to the source material, considering what his role models and influences were for love and marriage – mainly films, but also his happily undivorced parents. We’re encouraged to be hopeless romantics, he says, or even persistent sex pests if you watch Pepé Le Pew.

When he gets into the harsh realities of the relationship and what went wrong, he does manage to get some laughs out of it, through the hurt and anger. The actual moment where he got dumped is an extraordinary tale as it gets hijacked by a crime being committed right in front of them. He’s now able to see the funny side of this farce.

In terms of the megalolz, Trampoline takes a while to get going. It seemed as if this glorified therapy session wasn’t going to tip over into a good comedy show, but it does, after the point where he tells us exactly how the split happened. 

What happened after – the cancellations, the wedding day, the breakdown, the dating – turns out to be a better springboard for humour, even if it includes a mini routine about squids that is so out of place I can only assume it was a clerical error.

He’s interesting and thoughtful on the subject of mental health, though for his own sake it’s probably good if Campbell stops comparing himself to Roger Federer. 

Often the target of Campbell’s comedy is macho men, whether it’s his uncommunicative dad, dickheads on stag dos, coked-up confident people, and lads doing ‘I shagged your mum’ jokes. I seem to recall this theme coming up in previous shows of his too. He also enjoys getting his teeth into faux-spiritualism, prompted by a date he went on with someone who was a fan of ‘Psychic’ Sally. 

Campbell frequently says that he’s looking on the bright side, like it’s a mantra he’s hoping sinks in. Certainly, he appears to be trying but he does spend quite a lot of Trampoline lashing out at various people. As he points out, he’s still working through his grief stages. 

The spectre of the engagement ring hangs over Campbell and ergo the show, with a bit of luck he will return again to Edinburgh having finally got rid of it. His attempts to use it as a comic device, trying to flog it to people in the audience, lack finesse and craft – he seems far more comfortable getting on with the business of being a stand-up doing routines.

Campbell has the comic skills and (just about) the distance from the relationship to get a solidly funny show out of it. The audience certainly seemed a lot happier than he did. And that’s something to build on.

Review date: 19 Aug 2018
Reviewed by: Paul Fleckney
Reviewed at: Just the Tonic at The Mash House

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