With its classical faux-gold statues, plush curtain and generally kitschy vibe, the Forum is a perfect venue to see Rhys Nicholson. Decked out in his usual sartorial splendor (black bow tie, white shirt, black blazer) and hair combed and shined in dark red quiff, Nicholson is suave but nevertheless manic and mile-a-minute.
He works his lanky body into awkward flops and postures to accent his points and ab libs like a champ when a lighting snafu and an audience member distract from his extremely tight show.
In Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! he is on fire, riffing on everything from trying to get an ADHD diagnosis to the types of stores that divorced women open. On brand, the material mostly comes back around to Nicholson's gay identity, although lockdown has given him plenty of time to consider the possibility of non-binary, throwing another complication into his ever-churning mind.
Growing up in Newcastle around straight men, being in a relationship for more than a decade and wanting a wedding only for the divorce later on – the observations come hard and fast, with tight transitions and a knack for packing a lot of punch into only a couple of sentences. The laugher rate shoots off the charts and the hour never lags, no matter where Nicholson takes it.
Nicholson makes some good points about aging and it's hard to believe that he, himself, is only 31. He's an old soul in disposition and outlook. Even more striking is a comic skill that belies his years. Being such a fine wordsmith, with jokes whip-crackingly tight and a real nuance for vocabulary and timing – Nicholson has a level of proficiency usually seen in more senior performers.
Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! live up to its three cheers. A top Australian comic, in top form in a venue that brings an extra level of occasion to a very solid show.
2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!
Venue: Forum Melbourne – Upstairs | 154 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 31 March – 24 April 2022
Tickets: $27 – $35