With its classical faux-gold statues, plush curtain and generally kitschy vibe, the Forum is a perfect venue to see Rhys Nicholson. Decked out in his usual sartorial splendor (black bow tie, white shirt, black blazer) and hair combed and shined in dark red quiff, Nicholson is suave but nevertheless manic and mile-a-minute.

He works his lanky body into awkward flops and postures to accent his points and ab libs like a champ when a lighting snafu and an audience member distract from his extremely tight show.

In Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! he is on fire, riffing on everything from trying to get an ADHD diagnosis to the types of stores that divorced women open. On brand, the material mostly comes back around to Nicholson's gay identity, although lockdown has given him plenty of time to consider the possibility of non-binary, throwing another complication into his ever-churning mind.

Growing up in Newcastle around straight men, being in a relationship for more than a decade and wanting a wedding only for the divorce later on – the observations come hard and fast, with tight transitions and a knack for packing a lot of punch into only a couple of sentences. The laugher rate shoots off the charts and the hour never lags, no matter where Nicholson takes it.

Nicholson makes some good points about aging and it's hard to believe that he, himself, is only 31. He's an old soul in disposition and outlook. Even more striking is a comic skill that belies his years. Being such a fine wordsmith, with jokes whip-crackingly tight and a real nuance for vocabulary and timing – Nicholson has a level of proficiency usually seen in more senior performers.

Rhys! Rhys! Rhys! live up to its three cheers. A top Australian comic, in top form in a venue that brings an extra level of occasion to a very solid show.

Event details

2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Rhys! Rhys! Rhys!
Rhys Nicholson

Venue: Forum Melbourne – Upstairs | 154 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 31 March – 24 April 2022
Tickets: $27 – $35
Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au


Most read Melbourne reviews

  • Groundhog Day The Musical
    This is more than just a screen to stage relocation, this a heartfelt re-examination seeking, discovering and transposing essence.
  • Smash It | Circus Oz
    This kooky show is intergenerational mayhem at its finest, with cast members representing millennial, Gen Zs, Baby Boomers and everything in between.
  • Luzia | Cirque du Soleil
    Luzia is a jumble of imagery all wrapped up in spectacular environments that include a vertical waterfall raining down like a tapestry on a loom and a plunge pool for an aerialist to thrash in and out of.
  • Wicked – The Musical
    Extraordinary in scale and spectacle, Wicked is classic big budget musical gorgeousness, but froth and bubble aside, it’s also laced with depth in its narrative.
  • Hamlet | Sheoak Productions
    How do you make Shakespeare’s traitorous drama Hamlet, funny?

More from this author

  • Cirque Bon Bon
    The speciality acts are first rate and the quartet of dancers intermingled through the act...
  • The Great Moscow Circus Extreme
    With its tent compound of concession stands, carnival games and intimate seating area, it...
  • Famous | NICA
    The circus skills are high and shine brightly, especially when dramatic ideas are sometime...
  • Club Vegas The Spectacle
    Club Vegas is a whole lot of everything as it showcases style over substance in its crowded...
  • 360 All Stars
    360 All Stars is a great concept and fun way to spend an hour.

Now playing Melbourne