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Review: Rhys Nicholson – I'm Fine

Adelaide Fringe

Rhys Nicholson’s new show, I’m Fine, is a beautifully bitchy account of how this socially anxious young man has overcome bullying and social stigma to arrive at a place of mere mild neuroses. ★★★★

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That’s perhaps a slight over-simplification, but if you’re familiar with Nicholson’s comedy, you’ll know what brand to expect – millennial, misaligned with convention and maddeningly funny.

Performing at Fowlers Live (part of the Nexus Arts Hub), he was quick to point out that the stage was slightly too high for live comedy, and the “moat” between that high stage and the audience where presumably bad jokes went to die was quite alienating for him. Despite the challenges presented by the venue, Nicholson maintained an electric stage presence throughout.

Speaking at a mile a minute, there were no pauses or awkward breaks in what was almost an hour-long monologue. That said, he was easy to understand and his quick wit took the audience on a journey through some of his more trying experiences as an awkward outcast teen and the experimental phase of his early 20s.

Nicholson possesses a level of OTT satirical theatricality coupled with biting insights and wit. His double entendres were well-timed, as was his overall delivery.

He covered a vast array of topics – from ghost tours in Tasmania, to how to confess your fetishes to a new partner, to his theories on boat people and white privilege. He named and shamed his high school bully who now works in a furniture store (yay, Rhys wins!) and confessed to a vast array of past personal difficulties.

There was a lot of sexual content and this certainly isn’t a show for the kids, but it’s perhaps not as shocking as you might expect. Nicholson is now engaged to his partner of seven years and, like many in long-term relationships, most of his sexual references are to the wild days of the past.

If there is any criticism, it would be that some of his stories are more on the dramatic than the funny side. These caused a slight drop in the show’s energy, but he soon picked up pace again.

Nicholson is very funny. Not to mention intelligent, witty and dramatically entertaining.

Four stars

The Adelaide Fringe season of I’m Fine is now finished.

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