Rhys Nicholson – Eurgh Underbelly Bristo Square

Are you a guard llama or a sheep? That is the important question we are asked at the outset of the show and Rhys reveals the answer, with the help of an inflatable llama called Arge and with a number of hilarious digressions along the way. A couple of whipcrackaway Doris Day numbers to get us in the mood as we arrive and take our seats then Rhys bounds onstage, looking very dapper in his sharp suit and bow tie (he sells them after the show as part of his merchandising). He cuts an endearingly eccentric figure - a lanky bundle of nervous energy with an impressive hairdo of bright red hair, deathly pale face and big black glasses. With loving pride he places a plaque on the chair beside him – he won the Best Newcomer award at the Sydney Comedy Festival in 2012 or was it that he was the best joke of the Festival, he’s not sure.

Right away he establishes he is gay, even if it will upset some of us ladies that he is unavailable. He is more likely to upset the guys in the front row especially the one who he chooses to enact the role of the shower in his hotel room – I can’t possibly repeat what happens in that scenario but suffice to say it is laugh out loud hilarious as well as somewhat close to the bone. That kinds of sums up the night actually – you find yourself doubled up with laughter and thinking, did he really just say that and am I really laughing at it? We become his friends and confidantes as he takes us on the surreal story of his life, his family, his gayness, his partner, his llamas and, of course, that vexed question of whether he is a guard llama or a sheep. It’s great fun and I for one am looking forward to seeing more of him in the years to come.

Irene Brownlee