Rhys Nicholson – Forward

You cannot criticise Rhys Nicholson for a lack of clarity. His intentions are made immediately clear: “Get on board the filth train folks, we are making very few stops.” Indeed, if the Australian comic mockingly masturbating in front of an audience member isn’t enough, gags soon drop about abortion and dogging.

Nicholson is unapologetically himself – specs on, nails painted, hair dyed, this is a dapper man ready to lunge his way into laughter. He lunges a lot actually; it’s always ironic and beautifully entertaining.

The filth is fleetingly funny: you often feel as if Nicholson’s consistently battling to win back a disgusted audience. Yet when the crudity cruise halts and his self-proclaimed ‘Generation Y cynicism’ takes off, you realise that this set is an honest, hilarious analysis of modern social politics.

With an honourable distaste of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, not to mention the hypocrisy of anarchist meetings, Nicholson discusses equality and gay rights with power and punditry. Nicholson is unapologetically himself – specs on, nails painted, hair dyed, this is a dapper man ready to lunge his way into laughter. He lunges a lot actually; it’s always ironic and beautifully entertaining.

Perhaps guilty of simply having too much material, the Aussie could have done more to involve the audience. In this show, only a couple of questions were asked of them and adlibbed humour was lacking. But despite this slight frostiness, Nicholson remains endearing by racing through copious coming out anecdotes. The one with boners in abundance is a stand-out, as are his constant homophobe quips.

His wholesome side also pokes through when he reveals the strength of his current relationship. This is what equal rights looks like, he maintains: while his partner will clean and cook, Nicholson will collage. Any craft needs are met by him in his household. You only half believe him until he whips out a collection of his hand-made bow ties and lapel pins at the show’s end. It’s gone from filth to fabric – how fabulous.

Consistently self-deprecating yet simultaneously sassy, Rhys Nicholson’s Forward is a glorious hour of dense, intelligent stand-up. Don’t miss it.

Reviews by Sarah Gough

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