REVIEW: Craig Campbell – the tea-loving Canadian

Review by Rachael Grealish

A wild man with a love for British tea, Craig Campbell was a fantastic treat for Egremont audiences. -Photo by Robert Haile

A wild man with a love for British tea, Craig Campbell was a fantastic treat for Egremont audiences. -Photo by Robert Haile

CAMPBELL, seemingly fresh from the Canadian wilderness sporting wild shoulder length hair and a grizzly beard, hit Florence Arts Centre with a cup of tea in hand.

He took to the stage on Saturday May 28 and started the show from backstage by singing Johnny Cash, funny at first, going on just long enough to keep the fun without overdoing it.

Campbell with his unique and, at times, bizarre delivery, struggled to warm up some of the Egremont audience.

Even his odd dress sense, complete with shoes displaying individual toes, failed to lift the laughs of some of the audience members – but not this reporter; his style of comedy and dress was somehow relatable and put me at ease as an audience member.

Momentum began to build when his routine led on to our relatable British qualities – our love for tea.

Coffee was his next target, as he expressed his anger at the closing time of British coffee shops – but was happy in the knowledge this was just the time the pubs were opening.

He shared his first experiences in Britain, over two decades ago, and how he fell in love with the audience.

His simple observations of our culture and European culture really brought to life the relatable comedy.

In the second half his performance showed his true flair for comedic story telling.

He told stories of his youth, past performances – a notable moment making fun of a ‘posh’ gig he did once in the south which had the audience in fits – and of his travelling.

Throughout the show Campbell compares different cultures.

He shared his various experiences with different cultures from Australians, Americans, Norwegians, us Brits, to Canadians and even the Russians.

They all got a fair dig at their ways and traditions – though this proved to go down well in the Egremont audience.

Throughout Campbell tried to interact with audience members from a Canadian man in the front row, to anyone who’d had any experiences living abroad, though many audience members didn’t warm to the participation as Campbell was expecting.

Other notable moments were definitely his spontaneous burst into song – if comedy fails to work in the future he surely has a career in song.

Campbell commented: “Cumbria is a beautiful area and I would come back at any point.”