Nick Helm: There Is Nothing You Can Do To Me That I Haven't Already Done To Myself
- Jay Richardson
- 18 October 2017
Playing the embittered loser card to perfection, the Uncle star blows away both his crowd and the stench of misery
The growling vocals remain reminiscent of a wounded ox, but Nick Helm has stripped down and pared back virtually all of the grandstanding and rock-god posturing in his latest show. For There Is Nothing You Can Do To Me That I Haven't Already Done To Myself, he's expelling all vestiges of self-belief and triumph for a strikingly vulnerable, introspective wallow through his broken dreams and resolve. Even his familiar berating of the crowd is essentially complete with a curt dismissal of all the 'cunts' in Glasgow and a half-hearted lash out at any couples in the front rows with the temerity to be content.
Emerging out of the audience with a deceptively breezy tune about attempted suicide, Helm's lonely but romantic, self-harming persona is so impregnable and convincing that it's virtually impossible to ascertain where the real man ends and the act of his tormented ego begins. In anecdote and song, Helm incorporates the unwelcome attention he attracts from fans of his BBC Three sitcom Uncle, weaving his professional insecurities and jealousies through admissions of heartbreak, alcoholism and bedsit solitude. He's had a dreadful 18 months with a burglary adding insult to injury with an insensitive policeman's judgement on his B-list celebrity and taste in drunkenly purchased possessions.
Helm rather over-eggs the consequences of working with his adolescent Uncle co-star, Elliot Speller-Gillott, at the post-Jimmy Savile BBC, while accompanied by support act David Trent on guitar, the songs share a twisted wistfulness and uniform bleakness. No matter, as the lyrics are tenderly witty and contrast appealingly with the more bilious delivery between them, with Helm affecting anguished fury at an audience that he struggles to know how to please, characterising himself as a performer who can only succeed by losing.
Nick Helm: There Is Nothing You Can Do To Me That I Haven't Already Done To Myself is on tour until Saturday 18 November. Reviewed at Òran Mór, Glasgow.