I'm Not Pale, I'm Dead

Ever wondered what a conversation with a real-life ghost would be like? In this interesting take on the supernatural genre, writer/performer Lydia Nicholson shows her afterlife in a natural light, telling all in a frank confession to the living audience.

Mystics connecting to the spirit world can get the wrong number. Haunting now extends to Facebook. Nicholson has created an everyday ghost-mythos that is never anything other than relatable – her human concerns have hardly been left behind.

First appearing to great acclaim in Sydney and Adelaide in Australia, I’m Not Pale, I’m Dead is essentially a monologue with some touching occasions of connection with the spectators. The appeal of the show is in its determination to keep one foot in normality while the other is in the grave. Mystics connecting to the spirit world can get the wrong number. Haunting now extends to Facebook. Nicholson has created an everyday ghost-mythos that is never anything other than relatable – her human concerns have hardly been left behind.

Even amongst these almost throwaway considerations of the afterlife, there are some incredibly touching moments. Mentions of her previous friends, boyfriends, parents, and her inability to really reconnect with them provide emotional depths you weren’t aware of the moment before, as if her soft and chatty voice has lulled you there by accident. When Nicholson starts to get upset, too, you definitely believe it: she’s a very endearing performer.

The humour is conscious but never overemphasised – there are no punchlines, as it were, which gives a lovely, inartificial feel to the whole narration. The experience is akin to getting a coffee with a caring social worker. However, a bit more of a comic-routine feel may have made the humour more noticeable and effective. Laughs are certainly being sacrificed for the sake of its ordinary, unassuming tone, and although the narration is of a consistent quality, it is never quite colourful or interesting enough in general. The show doesn’t quite rise above its ordinary tone and could have packed more of a punch or a point. Nonetheless, it’s an enjoyable performance that subtly manages to go ever so slightly off-key.

Reviews by Henry St Leger

Pleasance Dome

Police Cops in Space

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Frankie Vah by Luke Wright

★★★★★
Summerhall

A Hundred Different Words for Love

★★★★★
Bush Theatre

Guards at the Taj

★★★★★
Camden People's Theatre

Beta Public V

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

What's the riskiest thing you've ever done? After dying on a Saturday night in an itchy dress and mountains of regret, Lydia shares her words of warning with the living. From the practical to the deliciously naughty, her advice raises some uncomfortable questions about her death. Bittersweet ghostly storytelling from Australia's Lydia Nicholson. Sold out season at Sydney's 2013 Bondi Feast and winner of the 2013 Adelaide Fringe & Beyond Award. ‘Witty, charming, disarmingly frank’ (RipItUp.com.au). ‘Stunning performance with brilliant material’ (Heckler.com.au).