Sam Campbell. Bulletproof Ten | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Sam Campbell. Bulletproof Ten

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

Waggish prankster Sam Campbell returned to the Fringe 12 months after scooping the Edinburgh Comedy Award in the most Sam Campbelly way possible – a single ten-minute performance in one of the festival’s biggest venues, the 750-seater Pleasance Grand.

And yet still some people arrived at Bulletproof Ten five minutes late.

With a few comics having a claim to be the hardest-working comedian on the Fringe – the likes Mark Watson sometimes pulling in a 24-hour-plus shift, like an idiot – Campbell got the publicity coup and the attention of the industry (many of who helped bulk out the room last night) by being the least hard-working.

Given his propensity for mischief, there was always the possibility Campbell would muck around even with this unconventional format. Maybe he’d have a support act? Throw in an interval? Or overrun ridiculously.

But apart from cheekily taking his sweet time to get to the microphone, Campbell delivered, as promised, 600 seconds (maybe a bit more) of A-grade, offbeat material. He might not be working much on stage, but his inventive mind’s doing overtime away from it.

In a maelstrom of absurdity, he complained about hotel lift design, suggested his stand-up is an amalgam of the two Jerrys (Sadowitz and Seinfeld), and brilliantly described how changing his debit card has made him feel like a wealthy benefactor whose patronage must be obsequiously courted.

He masterfully coped with the notorious eight-minute slump by recruiting Mark Silcox to call time, ringing a handbell as he called for the Australian to start wrapping up. That was the cue to present his research into big toe lengths on the big screen, leading to a ridiculously inventive piece of audience participation.

If he’d served up this for an hour, it’d be five stars all the way. But we must adjust for time, so a perfect 0.83333333333 stars.

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Review date: 17 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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