Rhys Nicholson is not cut out to be one of those cuddly showbiz gay men.
Rhys Nicholson: Nice People Nice Things Nice Situations, Underbelly - Bristo Square, Edinburgh * * * *
So when a woman who’d seen him on television wrote to him demanding he write about “Nice People, Nice Things, Nice Situations” – he was outraged. But he did steal her suggestion and make it the title of his show.
Nicholson is an old style queer. With his burgundy hair, his sharp suit and a face that is all angles he looks like someone from the 1950s. Gay marriage might be legal in Australia now but Nicholson is holding onto his outsider status. And while he’s happy and domesticated in his personal life he refuses to gloss over the details of what homosexual men do in bed.
There’s a bizarre opening to his show when a third of his rain soaked audience get stuck in the bowels of the McEwan Hall and start shuffling around the seats when he’s already on the stage. But Nicholson handles it like a pro – letting everyone shake off the drips and settle into their seats before starting the show afresh. Nothing rattles him. Even when he forgets a word he doesn’t miss a beat. And he has a unique delivery – rapid, mannered and continuous – with a tone that swoops and soars like an Australian magpie.
Nicholson is uncompromising and determinedly himself – but he’s very aware of his audience, moving constantly around the stage, making eye contact, keeping the energy going. His material is insightful, clever and very funny and sparkles with one quickfire little verbal twist after another. Despite the formality of his appearance he’s very physical– throwing his burgundy quiff back, arching his back, creating grand flashing gestures with his gold painted fingernails. You can’t take your eyes off him and that chiselled face that always finds the light.
Until 25 August