Review: Rhys Nicholson – Seminal

A solid set from a classy performer who's surely destined for television stardom

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 14 Aug 2018
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Rhys Nicholson

Owner of the best cheekbones at the Fringe Rhys Nicholson is "trying to be a better person", he tells us at the top of his hour. Really? Minutes later, he's telling us about the similarities between meth and Jennifer Aniston movies, and admitting that "for Lent I gave up hope". Same old Rhys Nicholson, then. And still very, assuredly funny.

Nicholson is on good, caustic form tonight. Classic Nicholson consists of torrential verbiage, punctuated with acerbic asides and mock-bitter snipes. His eyebrow is, metaphorically and actually, almost always arched. Though he freewheels through material as much as he paces the stage, there's a very loose focus in Seminal (no idea why it's called that) around proposing to his boyfriend even before Australia legalised same-sex marriage. He talks of his involvement in activism, of his surprise at actually having to do the thing after Australia voted "yes" to letting him marry the person he loves. He's permanently and hilariously flippant about the whole business. For a moment, though, he opens a door into the dark when he talks of being threatened on the train in Melbourne by a brute who warned he would "bash it in if it said anything". He laughs it off quickly, but it's a smart moment that sets his sardonic quick wit in context. Not everyone wants to hear his comic voice.

A little too often Nicholson relies on the same repertoire of verbal tics and techniques to get laughs. "Because comedy is going so well..." he says of a number of less-than-ideal scenarios he finds himself in, for example. And his single gesture towards crowd-work feels like ticking a box. But this is a solid set from a classy performer who's surely destined for television stardom.