Rhys Nicholson @ Underbelly, Cowgate

After his Barry Award nomination in Melbourne, Rhys Nicholson returns to Underbelly in triumph

Review by Jennifer McKiernan | 09 Aug 2016
  • Rhys Nicholson

Rhys Nicholson likes to lunge. As performance tics go, a lot of lunging is impressive – particularly if he can keep it up for the entire festival without injury. Like his thighs, Bona Fide is quite muscular, with strong writing that runs effortlessly through the hour.

Channeling David Bowie with his red hairdo, silver nails and impeccable suit, Nicholson gives the impression he's more alive on stage than off in a feedback loop of laughter. There are plenty of dramatic lighting effects and even some unnecessary confetti in an undeniably well-constructed and thoughtful show.

Barbs about the gay rights movement hit their target, centring on an allegedly homophobic reindeer voiced by Nicholson. He slags off his small Australian hometown with non-stop gags about its insularity and idiocy, including a gem about tattoos. Nicholson's half-hearted coming out story, involving a pushy girl at a rubbish teenage party, is cringe-inducingly funny and his material about his terrible behaviour with the love of his life is worth the entry fee alone.

Rhys Nicholson: Bona Fide, Underbelly Cowgate (Delhi Belly), 4-28 Aug, 9.20pm, £7-12