Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh
We chanced on Nicholson at last year’s festival and were glad we did, as he seemed to offer something fresh and invigorating (I’m making him sound like a shower gel!) to the world of stand up. This year, he’s graduated to a bigger performance space and his presentation is stronger, more confident than before. He presents an unlikely figure in the dank confines of the Delhi Belly at Cowgate, impossibly skinny and clad in a sequinned jacket. What is it about Newcastle Australia that turns out such interesting characters? Both Nicholson and Sarah Kendall appear to have had almost the same childhood – overweight, bullied and unable to step onto a beach (about the only thing to do in Newcastle Australia) without breaking out in hives.
Nicholson has a bitchy, ironic way of telling a story, that’s as caustic as it is funny, even if the content isn’t particularly original. Subjects range from Rhys getting horribly drunk at a wedding reception, through the observation that the various factions of the gay community seems to be acquiring more letters as a way of describing themselves, to a long treatise on the subject of masturbation, something he claims to be a world expert at. He also talks about voicing a gay reindeer in a commercial for Aardman Animation and then being blamed for setting the world of gay rights back by years with that ‘ridiculous voice,’ even though he was only using his regular speaking voice! Go figure.
Nicholson is a real talent and nearing the top of his game. Amidst the plethora of comics currently treading the boards at this year’s Ed Fest, he’s one that’s well worth seeking out.