The Free Fringe is a chaotic world. Fighting over the noise from the bar next door, hampered by erratic tech and a merry, conversational audience, Australian Fringe debutante Nicole Henriksen is remarkably unphased. Clearly an experienced performer, her energy and control are admirable, and absolutely what is needed to sustain an hour of one-woman stand up and character comedy.
The jokes are well delivered, and when they land they go down well. But there are not many of them, and they do not land often enough, with laughs further and further apart as the show progresses.
With her cheerful, direct delivery, audience interaction (including a quiz and a training session on the correct usage of YOLO) and her generous attitude to interruption, Henriksen really builds up a relationship with the room. This allows her to disown the more outrageous behaviour of her characters, like Big Yellow Button the synth-pop revolutionary, or the rather ambiguous MC Misogynist. In spite of the setting, she creates a context for comedy to thrive. Unfortunately, it doesn’t.
The jokes are well delivered, and when they land they go down well. But there are not many of them, and they do not land often enough, with laughs further and further apart as the show progresses. For the most part the humour is rather broad and repetitive, the ‘characters’ relying far too much on single, overplayed ideas: shouting the word ‘pussy’ can only get you so far. While Henriksen never flags, the audience certainly does, and really there is too little genuinely funny material to sustain a whole hour, especially so late in the day. With a number of long and rather uneventful videos, all played too quietly to hear over the ambient noise, and repetitive songs which far outlast the lyrical imagination of their author, the time really starts to weigh heavily. Rainbow Rabbits with Rabies is a reasonable piece of free entertainment, but at 11pm you’re probably better off going to bed.