Why Am I Like This?

Aug 16 2023 | By More

★★★★☆     Important story

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Venue 53): Fri 4 – Sat 19 Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

Why Am I Like This? from High Heels and Heavy Suitcases at theSpace @ Surgeons Hall is something of a gem. Beautifully tailored to its audience, space and time slot, it is funny and refreshing.

Billed as a neuro-diversity led solo show, it is not a great deal of a spoiler to say that this is about Nicole Nadler’s diagnosis of ADHD as an adult – something which is stressed in the show’s publicity. This discovery comes to inform much of her previous experiences – the six pairs of glasses she still can’t find, the oversharing and shame spirals, the inability to get anywhere on time.

Nicole Nadler. Pic: Rebecca Scott

Created, written, directed by and starring Nadler, the production delves into her life honestly and humorously. It addresses the effect of a condition that so many still believe ‘is only for boys’, to the extent that some evidently don’t see the need for her to discuss it at all.

It also talks about the way that lots of people claim to be ‘a bit ADHD themselves’ because they exhibit very minor versions of some of the traits. This is something it shares with other neurological conditions – people never say the same about conditions that manifest themselves more obviously physically.

It is all done with pace, autobiographical colour and a lightness of touch that is extremely endearing. The structure is clever, and – while it is a short show – it is just the right length. It also fits neatly into the physical space, with Nadler’s rapport with the audience notably strong, and the problems of a room that announces any late arrivals all too clearly are overcome with grace.

outside eye

The piece could probably use an outside eye, such as the services of a dramaturg, but works well as it is, showing definite signs of polish and care. Some (probably those who are taken to task for criticising a preview for not being ‘more about men’) might question having a performer who has a phone and a laptop on stage to aid focus and timing. However, this never impacts the performance negatively.

Furthermore, if we are serious about widening the kind of stories we hear on stage – and the pool of people who get to tell them – then this is absolutely necessary as well as a breath of fresh air.

Running time 45 minutes (no interval)
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall (Stephenson Theatre), Nicolson St, EH8 9DW (Venue 53)
Friday 4 – Saturday 19 August 2023
Daily (not 13) at 3.00 pm
Tickets and details Book here.

Instagram: @highheelsandheavysuitcases

Nicole Nadler. Pic: Rebecca Scott



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