My first venture to the Marlborough could not have been more welcoming. As I walked into the theatre space I was instantly greeted by the night’s performer, Nicole, offering me a handful of popcorn, which I gratefully took and stuffed my face.
A joy to watch and definitely one to look out for
Nicole Henriksen has made her Brighton Fringe debut this year, originally hailing from Australia, and went in with full force by bringing both a more serious theatre show and an alternative stand-up show. I had come to the latter and was very impressed by her refreshing approach to comedy and her style. She’s the best kind of millennial, in the sense that she is all about inclusivity, promoting ideas of gender and sexual fluidity and smashing the patriarchy to pieces.
She begins by discussing how she’s been told that she isn’t particularly suitable for a “mainstream” audience, and starts doing impressions of straight white male comedy, expertly and hilariously. Audiences can be put off by feminist (or even just equalitarian) comedy, palming them off as aggressive men-hating women, but there is no way you can describe Nicole as such. She has such a charming and endearing demeanour, there is no way to feel threatened by what she’s saying, it’s simply just the truth. She expresses the experiences she has had and the experiences I imagine the majority of female comedians have had, particularly if you’re dubbed as an ‘alternative’ comedian.
Intermittently throughout her show, Nicole introduces a couple of ‘guests’ to the stage, which are some characters she has created. One is named Big Yellow Button, a spoilt British girl who claims she invented synth pop and that Gary Numan travelled back to the 80s and stole her ideas. A highlight of this character is her song I Didn’t Want To Go Out, a hilarious and honest song about having to come up with excuses why you don’t want to attend a social event and instead just sit in your pants and watch Netflix at home. The other guest was a genderless human being named NK who had realised they were the second coming - this realisation was absolutely nothing to do with a hallucinogenic drug trip - who had come to do a sermon (pronounced “see-men”) for us all. The characters were very random and half crow-barred into the set. They had all the potential not to work, but for some ludicrous reason they were absolutely brilliant and left the audience in hysterics.
Techno Glitter Penguins was an excellent glimpse into the life of what probably most 20-somethings of all walks of life are feeling right now. There was a sense of displacement and a questioning of achievement in a world that defines success by financial gain, as well as thoughts on mental health issues and discourse on sexuality and gender. It’s very on the money with what it is to be young and trying to carve your path in life. Nicole is an enigmatic and energetic performer, who is not afraid to be honest from the go with her audience and, although we were small in number, we were all laughing as loud as we could. A joy to watch and definitely one to look out for. Nicole is taking another show to Edinburgh Fringe this year so if you’re headed up that way, definitely take a chance on her as you won’t regret it.