Nick Helm at Huntingdon Hall, Worcester 22nd October 2022
At times comedy can come from the most bleak and tragic corners of our lives…
The usual pub we venture into for a pre-gig pint is a hive of social activity; the chatter competes with the laughter and the bonhomie behind the bar is the glue that welds all together. Unfortunately, this beacon of conviviality was replete with seasoned drinkers this evening. Round the corner we found ourselves seated in another pub – with no other drinkers. The lighting was stark and unwelcoming. The empty tables testimony to our mistake. Still we made the most of it…you had to laugh.
Nick Helm must divide more people than the threat of roasted sprouts smothered in Marmite, although, like the aforementioned ingredients he does inspire opinion. Truly. Greeting the audience as a bunch of “c*nts,” the tone, mood and intention was “nailed to the sticking post” from the first verbal assault. Respect to the Hall for once again introducing a mostly sedate audience to a maverick of the comedy circuit.
The opening sing-along to Baker Street with raised hands and forced jollity acted as a contrast to the ensuing monologues exploring mental health issues, family tensions, addiction to sugary drinks and the joy of discovering your young niece is a part of your life. Helm can throw light into the dark corners of our lives and find humour; Helm is just as capable of throwing a symbolic stone from out of the darkness and sabotaging his own routine with a hand-brake turn of an about-face.
At times the attendees either side of me were squirming uncomfortably in their seats, unable to take their eyes off the stage, sitting in silence. Alternatively, they lent in and nodded in acquiesce as my neighbour’s shoulders shook gently due to the delicate poetry of the Bard of Bombast. The routine about the popular food ingredients in a box ignited knowing laughter and the spiralling repetition undertook all of the heavy lifting for the conclusion. Contrastingly, the filthy monologue about Hitler’s Dad and the attempt to reverse history and outcomes drew a pall-bearer’s stare from those either side of me.
Nick Helm’s spontaneous side-kick for the evening, Liz, found herself on stage three times. At times she embraced her inclusion into the proceedings and other times she wanted to be anywhere but on stage. The evening truly was a night of contrasts, highs and lows, full versus empty, light and shade…but everyone left with an opinion.
By: The Swilgate Scuttler
Ps Just a reminder, Jerry Sadowitz is performing at the Huntingdon Hall on the 28th of October. If lightly sautéed sprouts and walnuts are too spicy for you, probably best you stay away.
The remainder of Nick Helm’s tour:
Wednesday 26, Birmingham, Old Rep
Thursday 27, York, The Crescent
Friday 28, Manchester, The Stoller Hall
Mon 31, London, Bloomsbury Theatre
Thursday 3, Liverpool, Royal Court
Friday 4, Aberystwyth, Arts Centre