There is barely enough space to wield a feline in the Staff Room at the Free Sisters, so when the effervescent Nicole Henriksen bursts into the room it’s like being caught up in some adorable tornado and set down again somewhere that definitely isn’t Kansas anymore.
Fresh from a sold-out show at the Fringe World Festival in Perth, Henriksen isn’t at all perturbed by a fairly sparse crowd here, and instead turns it to her advantage. She gets up close with practically the entire audience; with rapid-fire interactions, clambering over chairs, and making scandalous allegations regarding the sibling of one gentleman.
The origin of the show’s title is never explained, but it is certainly evocative of the hyperactive Aussie’s breathless style. She is a comedian of rare confidence, and has an air of sweetness that she can turn on a dime into a vengeful snarl reminiscent of Alison Brie’s Princess Unikitty in The Lego Movie. Woe betide those “skinny white boys” she’s so fond of that don’t text her back.
It can be argued that topics such as the pitfalls of modern dating etiquette, misogyny in rap music, and the impenetrability of arthouse film are not exactly original grist to the comedic mill, but Henriksen’s presentation is the key. As “synth-pop revolutionary” Big Yellow Button, she delivers a diatribe against an inattentive boyfriend that becomes a worrying glimpse into a deranged mind. Why should such a small thing as his death be an impediment to getting in touch?
Another great character is Hubbard-like ex-drug-addict-cum-spiritual-leader, NK, whose new religion one can join for seven easy monthly payments of around $30,000. It’s through these characters that one realises that Henriksen is actually examining some weighty themes with a deceptively deft touch. Using this approach to subjects like grief and drug addiction could be risky but her breezy, brisk style never allows for offence.
Hopefully Nicole Henriksen will soon be performing in venues large enough to really let her stretch her wings. I suspect she would really be something to behold.