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Rhys Nicholson 'Bona Fide' at Brisbane Powerhouse - Review

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by Kiesten McCauley (subscribe)
My early career was in teaching, writing, producing and directing for theatre, comedy and impro shows. Now I'm a professional creative person. Mostly high-end branding, strategy, writing, editing and digital content creation.
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Genuine Laughs - No Kidding
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Comedian Rhys Nicholson

The first thing that hits me when Rhys Nicholson appears on stage is his superbly well tailored suit. Here's a man who knows how to dress for the stage. The second is his perfectly written and sublimely timed opening joke. I'd love to quote it for you here, but fear spoilers for those soon to attend his final few shows at the Powerhouse for Brisbane Comedy Festival.

The day before, he'd told me, "I'll write a premise and I'll write a punchline and then I'll spend weeks and weeks and months and months like just saying them as many times as I can on stage."

He's the kind of performer who works and reworks his jokes tirelessly, from festival to festival and stage to stage. Rhys' hard work and constant honing of his material really shows in his fast paced, rapid fire routine.

While he's charming to interview, on stage is where he really shines brighter than his perfectly painted gold glitter polish. You're barely drawing breath from a fit of laughter when he serves you another.

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"It is called Bona Fide," he joked to me earlier, "and it's only called that because I wanted people to have to say bona."

It's probably at this juncture I should warn people who are easily offended by humour of a sexual nature that Rhys won't be your cup of tea. If you're open minded, artsy, left wing and love intelligence, wit and ribald humour, Rhys is your man. If you cheer with glee when the language and concept warning appears at the start of Rage on the ABC, Rhys is a must-see.

Of the show he says, "It's got a surprise ending - I've never done one of those before - but it's got a twist at the end, kind of, and it's mainly about lying mostly, just about how I think lying is important."

[i][b]Here's a five minute edit of my chat with Rhys.

In the show he confesses lying is the secret to the longevity of his relationship with his partner of over five years. However this isn't one of those festival shows that just explores one theme. If it's funny, it's in the show, regardless of theme.

Rhys says, "It's a stand up show. It's just a stand up show."

It is more than just a stand up show when you choose to look beyond the coiffured modern day thin white duke surface. Rhys touches on some really important topics such as marriage equality, addictions, and anxiety disorders too.

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"Over the course the week here doing shows in Brisbane," Rhys says, "The show is going to change over the course of the week and get better and better and better because last night something might not have worked and I've fixed it today so tomorrow night it works and then it works for the rest of the season."

One thing is for sure, Rhys' comedy really works. Tonight's packed house was doubled over with laughter. I'm sure Rhys could find a naughty joke in that last metaphor. Then he'd work it and work it until it was as perfect as his personal style.

Catch Rhys at the Powerhouse while you can comedy fans. He's on until Sunday 13th March.
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Why? Laughter's Always in Style
When: TUE 08–SUN 13 MARCH, 2016
Phone: (07) 3358 8600
Where: Brisbane Powerhouse
Cost: $20-$27 plus booking fee
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