Nick Helm & James Acaster Review
To begin tonight’s proceedings James Acaster saunters onstage. His floppy ginger curls emulate his slack posture and vowel-repellant slur. This self-professed ‘lazy accent’ is complimented by his serious manner throughout, especially as he begins to explain how the folk from his hometown pronounce Kettering, ‘Ketrin’. This is followed by an excruciatingly long but amusing rendition of the local football chant set to the beat of his flailing limbs.
Now that Acaster has set the mood, we are beckoned into the realm of his infantalised ideas. We are shown the research he did after admitting to himself “I love bread”. A plain black notebook contains one-liners, bread related puns and a tally chart. Said chart shows ducks’ opinions on bread, who either ‘can’t get enough‘ or were ‘not pleased’ swaying seriously towards the former.
His elaborate tales of tomfoolery twist and entwine to create an hour of great entertainment. Acaster ends with a guilt trip concerning Kyle the wooden duck, used as a honey trap for your everyday mallard. He then brings his first row victim onstage to dance, with an apple, to the ‘Ketrin’ town song. A song permanently stuck in our heads.
Deemed ‘Hysterical & Terrifying’ by Timeout, Nick Helm graces the stage next, wearing a bright red military jacket, adorned with badges and medals over a tight white t-shirt exposing his rotund belly. Romantic savagery is the topic of Helm’s rant this evening. We bear witness to his violent and gory tales of romance told through wild gesticulation and saliva-spatter.
Kicking off the hilarity of his set, a series of one-liners, mainly combat related, are read, and then purposefully ruined through deconstruction. “I went to the worst medium in the world,” he says. “They were a large.” This is what you would call awkward comedy. The cringe-factor of the monophonic songs Helm uses to fill his interludes keep the punters crying with laughter, while still giving us goosebumps. Highlights of the show include Helm’s 10 worst aspects of his day – ‘I stubbed my toe’, ‘the toy in my kinder egg was shit’, ‘a pigeon died’ (how selfish!) – and then a skit about how everyone will eventually die.
This brings the night to a conclusion, and after a swift outfit change, Helm returns for one last giggle. This new attire features a ladder attached to his torso under a bright red cape, with boots attached to the ladder’s feet. So as you can imagine when he bends forward with a clenched first in the air, he appears to fly off the stage. Yet another fantastic comedian to whet our appetites for the Edinburgh Comedy Festival in two weeks.
Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, Monday 9th July 2012
Words by Lizzi Hart