Comedy Review: Nick Helm: Phoenix from the Flames, Pleasance Dome (Venue 23), Edinburgh

3 star
3 star
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As the legend has it, in his own inimitable, self-aggrandising style, no-one has seen Nick Helm since 2013.

And notwithstanding his television appearances and semi-successful Comic Relief spots in that time, there’s some truth to that assertion. Periodically robbing him of his libido and capacity to leave the house, the comic’s depression has also prompted suicidal thoughts.

With his wounded ox’s bellow, he comes blasting back with typically bullish resurgence on his opening track, a revival borne on the gossamer wings and tight, gold lamé shorts of his outfit, standing proudly before a sexualised montage of imagery. Yet it’s a front, because despite several familiar elements of a Helm hour, not least the browbeating of a crowd into emotional connection, this is a more introspective effort.

Read more: Theatre Review: Everything I See I Swallow, Summerhall - Demonstration Room, Edinburgh

And it suffers from merely being bookended by his usual juggernaut of spectacle. Depressed before it became creatively fashionable, he rolls the names of his more commercially successful peers round his mouth like he’s curiously tasting them. And he shares tales where his efforts to reach out to others are thwarted by comic misunderstandings, ultimately arriving at a crude epiphany that more-or-less justifies the reinvigorated swagger of his closing number.

Until 24 August. Today 5:40pm. ***

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