Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth | Review by Steve Bennett
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Nick Helm: One Man Mega Myth

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

The three greatest men ever to have walked this planet are, in order: 3) Jesus Christ; 2) Evel Knievel; 1) Nick Helm. Citation needed? I think you already know the source of that information.

With his usual modesty – i.e. none – the self-appointed One Man Mega Myth and ‘most-loved comedian of his or any generation’ blasts on to the stage in a blaze of high-octane rock-and-roll showmanship, shock-and-awing us all into chanting our devoted praise.

Never knowingly understated, he grabs the show by the balls, and heaven forfend if any slacker in the audience doesn’t do the same. He’ll bully and humiliate everyone into joining in, stalking the auditorium like a bank robber picking out his hostages, maybe sacrificing a couple to assert his dominance.

This loud, hyper-energetic posturing is what audiences have come to expect, and it’s as a brilliantly overpowering as ever. Likewise, we know it’s a front for a man racked with insecurities and prone to anger issues, directed aimlessly against a world that’s wronged him. No Edinburgh Comedy Awards, how can that be right? he rages.

The first half of the show is a blistering tribute to the flamboyant daredevil who makes No 2 in Helm’s chart, honoured through sartorial choices and the recreation of one of Knievel’s greatest motorcycle stunts, but in miniature.

But it’s not long before Helm’s bold front starts to crumble, Johnny Vegas-style, as the noise and bluster can no longer drown out his internal voices of loneliness and desperation. He’s previously had his band, the Helmettes, to support him, but David Trent, Pat Burtscher and Chris Boyd have all found better things to do this year. Not that Helm’s bitter, as he can always recruit some saps from the audience to stand in.

No, wait. Helm IS is absolutely bitter at how their treachery has left him so vulnerable. The show turns to poignancy as the tragedy of his situation here and in the real world away from the glam-rock fantasy is cruelly exposed. There are, understandably, fewer laughs here, but Helm still holds us rapt.

Some of the set pieces in this second half are a little more troublesome. The number he performs on an exercise bike is instantly forgettable, in contrast to the high-energy earworm of an opener, or indeed compared to the very image of Helm on the bike. There’s also need of a big musical showstopper to match the visual gag that closes the show.

But there’s plenty to enjoy from the perpetual four-star act, destined to be forever unhappy with his lot in life. Long may he express that though angry rock numbers.

Review date: 8 Aug 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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