SEAMAS Carey has a confession to make – he thinks he might be a nationalist and wants to know exactly what that means.

In his new interactive show, the Cornish-born comedian tackles nationalism and all its connotations, letting the audience draw parallels between his tales of Cornwall and their own experiences.

It’s easy to see how a show about nationalism would hold appeal for Scotland. Indeed, the show kicks off with Carey asking his audience to shout out some words associated with that very topic.

“Yes”, “self-determination” and “independence” were among the shouts at this particular show.

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From there, Carey explores a series of questions relating to nationalism. How do we express who we are and, more importantly, what happens if we take that too far?


The first thing to know is that if you’re looking for a more traditional comedy gig, Carey’s show probably isn’t for you. It’s more of an interactive, one-man play designed as much to get you thinking as it is to get you laughing.

That’s not to say it isn’t funny, there’s laughs to be had but the show holds as much interest in what the audience has to say as Carey.

Indeed, part of what must help Carey stay as lively and energetic as he does throughout his performance comes from how he engages his audience. It’s as much a new experience for him as it is for them.

Some of the interactive elements land better than others with one segment on “how Scottish” you might be working particularly well whereas a slightly more niche Cornish singing exercise wasn't quite met with the same enthusiasm. 

Everyone’s experience is likely to differ and how much you enjoy the show is in part beholden to how enthusiastic an audience you’re part of.

By pure coincidence, there were a couple of teachers who worked in Cornwall in the audience of this show which acted as a fun surprise for Carey (below).

The National: Seamas Carey talks nationalism in his new show

It’s interspersed with fascinating audio clips from a podcast series the performer produced on Cornwall and the issues it faces from overtourism to second homes to whether or not it should be a nation in its own right – issues which will of course resonate in Scotland.

Just because there’s a reliance on the audience doesn’t mean Carey shouldn’t be singled out for praise though and it’s credit to him and director Agnieszka Blonska that near everything lands well.

He takes on a number of topics from immigration to Cornish history, never quite delving deep into any of them but instead leaving it to the audience to think about what it all might mean in terms of national identity.

The show’s best moment sees Carey talk through why there can be anger towards tourists depending on the Cornish bumpers sticker they have on their car or, more importantly, whether or not they put jam or cream on their scone first.

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They might be trivial topics but they do genuinely get you thinking about what it means to come from a certain place and how these things can be used to separate the locals from the visitors.


Carey turns in a fun, committed and at times thought-provoking performance. How much you take away from it really depends on the kind of person you are.

It might be that you just remember the gags or it might be that you end up having a detailed conversation about second-home owners on the journey home.

Either way, there really is something for everyone.

Help! I Think I’m A Nationalist is playing at the Lyceum Studio in Edinburgh from August 8-27 (not 14/21). Tickets are available HERE