“A show so insightful, so honest, so legitimate that it will fix all of society’s problems and lead the way to a new plane of existence,” reads the description for Nick Helm’s Edinburgh Fringe show, What Have We Become?
How, might you ask, could one show possibly achieve so much for humanity, and not be front page news? How, in the power vacuum caused by Boris’ resignation, is Nick Helm’s name not on the lips of the nation? Surely this couldn’t be false advertising?
Well yes, it is; or sort of. What Have We Become? will not fix every societal issue, let alone usher in a new era of human existence, but it is insightful and honest. And it’s very funny.
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Helm is a confrontational comedian at the best of times, and What Have We Become? starts out on a serious note. He talks about finding the right antidepressants at long last and the difference that it made. His three singular outings in 2020 don’t make for that much merrier a mood, nor do the lifetime of family arguments and disappointments.
But, you know what they say: after the darkness, there must be light? Well, yes, eventually it comes, but you’ll still have to wait a while. It stays angry and the world of online zoom gigs and fresh direct ready meals predictably only further Helm’s incandescence.
Gradually, though, some rays of sunshine begin to creep through. From the ashes of a world pandemic, crippling depression and the proclivity for a drink or all of them, a girlfriend, a niece and sobriety appear. The rage wanes and the occasional melodic interludes get happier.
Helm’s been around the Fringe block and he knows how to hold a room. There’s still plenty of F-this and F-that, but you also feel that since he was last here, Helm has – as his show’s title asks – become quite a different man, and therefore comedian. Fair play to him.