Nick Helm's Two Night Stand in The Grand
- Brian Donaldson
- 12 August 2014
This article is from 2014.
Flesh, self-abuse and lewdness abound in bombastic show
‘Don’t fuck this up’ is one of Nick Helm’s rallying cries for this ‘two-night stand at the Grand’. The character he portrays on stage (bombastic, spiteful, lewd and very, very loud) appears to be on a solo mission to achieve exactly that. ‘This is something we did in 2001’ he will semi-whisper (ie bellow) during this two-hour greatest hits amalgam, coming close to a sliver of showbiz professionalism before his trousers fall down round his ankles.
Of course, an ability to make things go so horribly wrong takes military levels of planning and Helm has the night totally under control: except when he plucks a lookalike of his ex-girlfriend out of the crowd who turns out be wearing a hearing aid.
Channelling the hostage situation aesthetic of Johnny Vegas in his drunken pomp, Helm has no fear of allowing his flesh full rein and the sight of his reddened nipple on a huge backdrop is nothing short of compelling. At two hours though, compelling does dip into arduous from time to time.
No matter how awful he behaves towards the often unwilling volunteers he gets up onto his massive stage (and he really does treat them badly), no one comes out of this looking worse than Helm himself. In amongst all the explosions and self-abuse, he even squeezes in the tiniest bit of politics for his finale with some UK-based flag-waving. Watching him proudly hoist a Union Jack over his head might make you conclude one thing; hearing him sing the endless refrain of ‘no survivors’ before allowing us our freedom into the early morning leaves room for alternative interpretations.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 12 Aug, 11pm, £15.