Rhys Nicholson despite being only 28 is rapidly becoming a Fringe veteran as he returns with his sixth Fringe show Seminal. As you would expect from Nicholson it is another hour of his trademark quick-fire wit and deadpan delivery.
Before getting into the meat of show, Nicholson welcomes us with a some droll remarks about the room he is performing in this year referring to it as being like “a bomb shelter for the rich and wealthy” amongst other things. Nicholson quickly follows this with a series of wry observations on dinner and house parties, both of which he seems to hate. Most of his observations in this section are very sharp and funny, but a riff on the connection between people who take hallucinogens and being lazy/unemployed was a bit hack.
After this opening barrage of gags, we get to the heart of the piece which is his engagement to his fiancé Kyran and marriage equality in Australia. The former provides one the funniest stories of the show as Nicholson painstakingly explains how he very drunkenly proposed to his very sober boyfriend. The latter is obviously a subject close to his heart both as a gay man and as a notable campaigner for same-sex marriage. Nicholson never lets the show get too heavy though as he treats each topic with his usual sardonic wit.
If there is criticism to any of this it’s that some of the more personal material can come across a bit glib. Nicholson always feels the need to swoop in with a gag whenever it gets too raw. This is highlighted by a poignant story he tells about a incident of homophobic abuse he suffered this year which he then immediately undercuts with a gag about people mistaking this for a Hannah Gadsby show.
It is, however, a delight to watch Nicholson work as even when he jumbles his words, as he did a couple of times tonight, he hardly misses a beat and seamlessly weaves it into the show.
In Seminal Nicholson has produced a fast-paced, acerbic, gag-filled, socially acute, oft-hilarious hour of stand-up even if it does fall just short of brilliant.