Rainbow Rabbits with Rabies
Nicole Henriksen @ Gluttony – The Piglet
11:10pm, Sat 15 Feb 2014
I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little narcissistic when it comes to the words on this blog; whilst I write here mainly to augment my memory, I’m fully aware that Google loves me, and that most artists will find what I write about them when vanity-Googling.
So when someone grabs a pull-quote for their précis or advertising materials from my blog, I get a little thrill. Seriously – a little buzz of joy that someone has decided that my words were nice enough to advertise their show. It’s never expected, and always delightful.
There were no quotes from Festival Freak in the Fringe Guide this year, and that’s fine – to be expected, even; but, whilst out-and-about with a friend near the Garden one evening, Nicole Henriksen bounded up to us and thrust a flyer in our direction. I took it, then realised who was proffering it: “Hello Nicole!” I pre-empted.
She looked momentarily taken aback – but only monentarily. We had a lovely chat – very bubbly and enthusiastic on her part, which should come as no surprise to anyone who’s seen her perform – and I assured her that I’d try and squeeze her show in.
But it was only when I got home that I noticed there was a pull-quote from me on the flyer: “It’s perfect”, it said, leaving off the leading quotation mark.
But go and read my post about Henriksen’s last show… go find the quote. Cheeky, eh?
Still, I had fond memories of Naked Unicorn Vomit, and I love Nicole’s seemingly endless optimistic energy, so back into The Piglet I went. It’s a bigger venue than the one she used last year, and the crowd is a bit bigger too… but also a little more confused.
Still totally on-board with Henriksen’s lunacy, mind you… just confused.
Henriksen kicks off proceedings with a bit of her standup; not her strongest material, sure, but entertaining enough. But then the characters come out to play: Big Yellow Button’s Big Business – Art Piece is a new direction for her, veering wildly away from her previous Europop. NK appeared to have been murdered during a home invasion whilst we were on a Skype call with her; Nicole’s discomfort onstage in the aftermath was delicious. And MC Misogynist got another airing for her gloriously misguided lyrics.
In between character pieces, Henriksen struts the stage with a sense of surety and confidence that is almost unmatched by any other performer; she really is impressive to behold. Her forays into the audience (as part of a Jeopardy-ish game show) also reeked of confidence, though her question to me (“Mein Kampf?” – “Your favourite book,” I answered) may have been getting dangerously close to the edge.
If I wanted to nitpick, I could say that her video accompaniment really should have been projected onto a white screen – using the black stage backing doesn’t really help the legibility of the clips, and made NK’s death more sinister than ludicrous. And MC Misogynist’s new material – like Poppin’ My Pussy – didn’t have the overblown attitude of previous efforts.
But, like I said, that’d be nitpicking. Henriksen’s strength is in her imagination and – most importantly – her commitment to her imagination; that she wields such impregnable confidence onstage is impressive. With a crowd willing to go along for the ride – as this crowd was – it’s a bloody fun (and weird) way to have some laughs.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 15, 2014