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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow Rhys Nicholson: Dawn of a New Error
Rhys Nicholson: Dawn of a New Error
Published on Sunday, 11 August 2013

4 stars

Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
31 Jul, 1-12, 14-26 Aug, 10:45pm-11:45pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 16+ only.

Nicolson peddles that kind of downbeat comedy that forms the staple of acts like Andrew Lawrence and Stewart Lee – but he does it with a stylish and camp twist, that makes the misery feel fresh and even fun. Effete, impeccably-styled and sex-obsessed, he delivers laughs here around the unique problem that, despite building a whole persona on grumpy cynicism, he suddenly finds himself living contentedly with a new boyfriend… and feeling distinctly happy.

Nicolson cuts a dandyish figure with his ginger quiff, sharp blazer and slender figure. He manages to make the stuffy Sportsman’s in the Gilded Balloon seem almost glamorous, with the addition of some grudgingly-distributed home-made fans. He makes a theme out of throwing things into the audience; we get covered in glitter and told it’s “gay jizz”.

An idiosyncratic collection of overhead projector slides – yep, he uses actual transparencies in the fully AV-equipped Sportsman’s – are fun too, including an anatomically-correct diagram of male genitalia with an incongruous compass included. But it’s the material and the louche, campy style that really shines.

And it’s odd, but there’s something distinctly loveable about Nicholson, despite his misanthropy. Maybe it’s because he is so young and so delicate-looking, but it’s hard not to feel happy about this chubby ginger kid growing up to be such a stunner and finding love. Even if he is rather narked about it.

Nicolson has solid material, good jokes (some in terrible taste), and an aim that’s set firmly at some deserving targets. Together, they mean that under all the self-criticism and inadequacy, there’s some real bite to Nicolson’s rant about how angry he is to find himself happy. A little ginger gem.

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