Nick Helm: This Means War, Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh


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Nick Helm, barking dictator of fun, and nominee for last year’s comedy award, has pushed the military nuances in his act to their logical conclusion.

Decked out in a Sgt.Pepper jacket, the ursine comedian commands air-punching, chorus-singing and, for the front row, marching on stage for his rousing opening number ‘If You’re Not With Me, You’re Against Me'.

The customary high octane start is followed by standard Helm schtick: recruiting an audience member to be his stooge, the issuing of a handful of corny jokes (“What did the male shepherd say to the female shepherd? You herd!”), poems and more songs, all framed by the theme of relationships as torture.

There’s also the obligatory daft set piece which tonight is Russian Roulette a la ‘The Deer Hunter’.  Sadly, this segment feels like it runs for as long as the film that inspired it, and it weakens what was on course to be an impressive set.

Successes aside, sticking to the general pattern, if you will, has to be marked down. Next time round, Captain Helm should try a different line of attack.

To 27 August, 0131 556 6550