Rhys Nicholson is set to make an impression. With razor sharp cheekbones under a bright red quiff, thick rimmed glassless glasses and elegant dining attire one does not expect a shrinking violet, and that is exactly what one doesn’t get.
Rhys emerges on stage in a flurry of masturbatory simulation, instantly articulating the tone of the show. Filth comedy is interspersed with personal thoughts on porn, atheism, blasphemy, the relationship with his boyfriend, the odd personal anecdote and a reflection on power dynamics in society. Nicholson’s delivery is dry, acerbic, and anti-establishment. Delivered in a droll fashion with a smile not once crossing his lips, this show is not for the faint of heart.
It’s important for a comedian to find their audience. On this particular night, Nicholson’s audience contained several elderly couples on their one night out for the week to experience as they audibly termed it ‘culture’, who had probably mistaken Nicholson’s debonair appearance as some sort of indication of a Sinatra-esque night of cocktail comedy. Their shoddy heckles interspersed with stony silence were handled deftly by Nicholson, although there was a palpable feeling of regret in the room indicating that these people just weren’t meant to spend an hour together. Nicholson’s bio in the Fringe guide gave no indication that anal sex and fisting would be frequent features of his prose. Nicholson definitely has an audience out there, and this wasn’t it.
Maybe this disparity sucked the energy out of the room; however Nicholson’s tales lacked a convincing through-line, matching book ends, nor the punch the edgier material was no doubt meant to elicit. The ending was unconvincing in its climax. While there are some genuinely original and amusing reflections in this hour of Eurgh, it never became clear exactly what this show was about, or why.
If you like your comedy risqué and rather raw, you and Nicholson are going to get on fine.
Rhys Nicholson – Eurgh is on until March 1 at The Rhino Room