Rhys Nicholson - Eurgh

“Who here is a guard llama?” Confused? So is the attempted narrative arc of Rhys Nicholson’s set, supposedly an hour-long look at protectors (guard llamas) and protected (sheep) in various situations. It’s a good excuse for the continual presence of a blow-up llama onstage - never a bad thing, really - but it’s Nicholson’s charismatic, brazen personality that leaves the lasting impression.

Even if the set’s errant themes resist being herded to a neat close, he makes a veritable flock of his audience

Nicholson, who somehow self-identifies as a sheep, is utterly at ease as he leads us through his caustic examination of work, religion and his own sexual appetites in a lisped Aussie twang. He has absolutely no qualms about reeling off vivid analogies for his ejaculating penis or glibly propositioning the series of men who, on this night, left the venue for a toilet break. The way he dealt with these strays affirmed the strength of his stage presence, especially when he took the opportunity to prank them upon their return.

His set is constructed from lengthy, elaborate anecdotes, punctuated by magnificent, evanescent zingers. These footnotes are often half-whispered, but it’s worth paying close attention to hear him neatly supplement or undercut his material. At their worst, these moments reveal a little too much of Nicholson’s onstage insecurity, but most of the time his confidence seems indubitable.

He is refreshingly and believably frank: one anecdote about his understanding of faith is as sexually explicit as can be, but it manages to feel incidental to his uncompromising comedy rather than needlessly provocative. His striking image – flaming hair, lensless glasses, glittering nails and sheer cheekbones – is totally in line with his mischievous jokes, which march deep into taboo territory and, on occasion, bring back considerable spoils. Still, the more run-of-the-mill subject matter (Christianity, experiences with drugs and cruelty to supply teachers) feels beneath him. His assured, withering humour shouldn’t be wasted preaching to the converted: he could afford to take far more risks with what his audience will bear.

Even if the set’s errant themes resist being herded to a neat close, he makes a veritable flock of his audience: he turns out to be something of a trailblazing guard llama after all.

Reviews by Larry Bartleet

Underbelly, Cowgate

Jessie Cave: I Loved Her

★★★★★
Summerhall

Abacus

★★★★
Summerhall

Confirmation

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Neil Henry's Magical Mindsquirm

★★★★
Laughing Horse @ Finnegan's Wake

Martha McBrier: Pigeon Puncher

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Following sold out international tours and award wins, Australia's besuited degenerate Rhys Nicholson returns with a new show, new suits and an inflatable llama. The llama has context in the show. You'll see... you'll all see. This is filth with heart, vulgarity with meaning. This is Rhys Nicholson, the comedian you deserve. 'A wickedly racy full-frontal assault' (List). 'It's gasp-inducing stuff... very funny' (Chortle.co.uk). 'A festival must-see' (Herald Sun). 'Near-prodigious comedic instinct' **** (Daily Review). 'Sporting a tongue sharp enough to self-harm with' **** (ThreeWeeks). 'Insightful and extremely intelligent’ (RipItUp.com.au).

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Hairspray

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Everybody's Talking About Jamie

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets