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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Why Am I Like This

High Heels and Heavy Suitcases Productions

Genre: Neurodiverse, New Writing, Online performance, Solo Show

Venue: theSpaces: surgeon's Hall


Low Down

Do you misplace your glasses so often that you now have six pairs so you aren’t trapped inside and half-blind? How often do you have the brilliant idea to paint your nails five minutes before leaving the house? How frequently do you spiral into oblivion while asking yourself, yet again, Why Am I Like This? Follow Nicole on her 30-year journey as she discovers the four letter diagnosis that answers the biggest question in her life, and what that will mean for the next 30. Spoiler alert – she has ADHD.


This is show that wouldn’t have been made even ten years ago, or only in a very different form. Perhaps as stand up, a self-deprecating view of a chaotic life, something to make much fun of but with no suggestion that anything could change.

Nicole Nadler takes us on a rollicking journey from childhood to her 30s as life baffled her (and all those around her) until she was diagnosed with ADHD.

She plays herself, her teachers, her parents and her friends. She tells us that she wanted to grow up to be an actor but was told that university and proper job would be better, turns out she is one hell of a performer regardless of any training.

Her writing and delivery are naturalistic, you are spending an hour in the company of a consummate natural storyteller. A particular highlight are the sections where she illustrates the way that her life could spin out of control, for example when trying have a blitz and tidy her bedroom aged 15, by delivering the text at a blistering pace. It is not only breathtaking to watch but takes us into the heart of the struggles she faced growing up. Gives new meaning to the oft repeated advice to theatre makers to ‘show not tell’. At the same time she can be thoughtful and reflective and explore the darker side, the depression that grew at university as she tried to cope with the less structured surroundings of higher education.

Some good background woven in without being a TED talk. The background, that ADHD only formally recognised in 1979 in women and the under dx of women in 2018 (need to look up).

Alongside this very personal story Nadler weaves in some of the wider context. Neurodiversity and ADHD in adults, especially adult women is a subject only explored relatively recently – and this show includes the key shifts in developing our understanding. She flags up the difficulties for women in accessing diagnosis and treatment. That a woman needs to have had symptoms from childhood. And that women often don’t display ‘typical’ symptoms, those define in the early days of research which focused on young boys as the most visible group at the time.

This is evidence based humour at its best, an intensely personal story rooted in the context and research around ADHD. Highly recommended for anyone, but there will be many who find themselves thinking ‘that sounds familiar…’