UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Rhys Nicholson – ‘Forward’

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Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: Rhys Nicholson
Show: Forward
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall (Backstage Room)

Rhys Nicholson is regarded as one of the world’s most promising young stand-up talents, and if his new show Forward is anything to go by, it’s not hard to see why. Taking to the stage dressed like a “lesbian debutante ball attendee” (his description, not mine), with an effigy of his own face as a backdrop, Nicholson took command of the room instantly, dazzling the audience with his razor-sharp wit as he delivered multiple laughs per minute.

Devastatingly effective in the realms of filth, sexual politics and sentimentality, Nicholson’s jokes are multi-layered affairs, with multiple pay-offs, conveyed via a unique, borderline neurotic delivery style that makes it near impossible to predict where the next laugh will come from. A master of puns, Nicholson often ends one joke with another joke in a startling display of linguistics which gives the show a dynamic feel that ensures the audience remains on the edge of their seats.

While much of the material covered is quite ‘blue’ in nature, it’s also very clever, with many of the ruder jokes leading to genuine insights into the reality of life as a modern gay man and into the psyche of Nicholson himself. A show framed around the concept of heirlooms and legacy, Forward is a forward-thinking hour of stand-up delivered by a forward-thinking comic with many interesting things to say on a dizzying array of topics. As at home discussing gender Y’s self obsession as he is gender politics or the dating habits of the 1900s, Nicholson proves yet again to be an absolute riot with Forward.

Home to what may be one of the most original jokes of the festival, where he ponders if it is sexist for him to be more surprised at bigoted remarks because they came from a woman, and highlighted by a particularly touching series of jokes about his own fears and anxieties (and a barrage of penis jokes for good measure), Forward is an early contender for best show honors and yet another example of why Nicholson’s star is on the rise.

‘Forward’ is on now at Melbourne Town Hall (Backstage Room). Click here for dates and ticket details.

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