The first time I saw Rhys Nicholson at the Edinburgh Fringe, it was admittedly because I needed a show to fill a time gap between seeing one friend’s show and another friend’s show, and the timing and precise location of his show was just perfect. I gambled and I won, having discovered someone who I’ve gone back to see in subsequent years. At the close of his show, Nicholson suggests to the audience that they should do something similar at the Fringe – see someone they’ve never even heard of, and if they enjoy the show, they will have found be someone to look out for in the future. It’s very sound advice.
As if tempting fate, Nicholson starts talking about how ‘old’ he is: twenty-nine (oh, puh-lease). I should cut him some slack, though, as he mentions things he hasn’t done in his life, such as backpacking, which he’s not going to start now. Such experiences will have to wait until he’s “old old” when it becomes socially acceptable to live a second youth. His trademark style, which involves hitting the ground running and maintaining a lightning speed until the very end, was only slightly hampered by what he called ‘mini-strokes’ – sudden slips of the tongue or, on one occasion, a mind-block, all of which he turned into laughable moments.
The show’s title is derived from correspondence he received from someone called Carol, who lambasted Nicholson after a previous show for allegedly not being representative of the gay community (as if one person, however popular, could represent everyone of any given sexual orientation) and could do better to talk about “nice people, nice things, nice situations”. So, this comedy show touches on subjects such as Skype sex (I loved a punchline about having to click on six images of bridges before being allowed to proceed), his mother’s storage of his hair and milk teeth over the years, and how homophobic Australian breakfast television can be. Sorry Carol, but this is a comedian you wrote to – what did you expect?
Nicholson is indeed that little bit older, and his thoughts have now turned to weddings – he wants to invite his exes along, for rather mischievous reasons (I shan’t give too much away here) – and a dog which he and his partner Kyran Wheatley have adopted. Unafraid of ‘going there’ with explicit punchlines, this is a comedy masterclass, insightful and intelligent, and the sharp suit bucks the trend for casualwear that most comedians go for. Exquisitely hilarious from start to finish.
Review by Chris Omaweng
Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations is a killer hour of stand up from Rhys, who at 29 is more assured than ever but is still facing the uncertainty of adulthood and everything he hasn’t quite got round to figuring out yet. Spitting jokes like pips at breakneck speed this high energy set is one of Rhys’ best shows yet.
NICE PEOPLE NICE THINGS NICE SITUATIONS
Thursday 1st August – Sunday 25th August, 8.40pm
Underbelly, Bristo Square (Friesian)