Nick Helm: Phoenix from the Flames
- Arusa Qureshi
- 9 August 2019
Another fierce show but with added sensitivity
With a feather boa, gold hotpants and light-up trainers in tow, Nick Helm makes a triumphant full-show return to Edinburgh after a six-year gap. His new show, Phoenix from the Flames, features all the best elements of the comedian's bombastic self but with added anger, unfortunate anecdotes and plenty of c-bombs thrown in for good measure.
Helm takes aim at his own career with references to hit BBC show Uncle and the more recent Sky comedy The Reluctant Landlord, created by Romesh Ranganathan, who – as Helm continually and bitterly reminds us – started after he did and is somehow still everywhere. His metal-inspired anthemic singalongs are very much present and excellent, and the accompanying slideshow of images provides fragments of hilarity as words like 'penis' and 'cunt' match up with images of the likes of Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.
But in Phoenix from the Flames, Helm takes a step away from his burly and brutal onstage persona to discuss more serious issues, including his own mental health and experiences with anxiety, self-loathing and different types of anti-depressants. It's an unexpected pivot for the usually loud and sweary comedian but it's effective, adding moments of self-analysis and sensitivity to an otherwise fierce and riotous hour.
Pleasance Dome, until 24 Aug (not 12), 5.40pm, £12.50–£14 (£11.50–£13).