Adelaide Fringe 2014
While Rainbow Rabbits with Rabies may not have anything to do with raving rabbids (much to our disappointment) it is an insane hour of delicious laughs, delightfully terrible puns, and an awe-inspiring half-cape.
Nicole Henriksen is doing lunges on the – let’s call it intimate – stage of Gluttony’s Piglet, her half-cape slung haphazardly over one shoulder. Her outfit is shambolic and joyful, and she is too. But while off-the-cuff quips and dated cultural references may make it seem like she’s super-casual – just playing around, it’s clear we are dealing with a talented comedian here.
Some of the characters she plays during her set feel a bit pointless and are far less entertaining than she is just playing herself. To be fair, this isn’t so much a criticism of Henriksen’s work in specific as it is of character comedy in general. This may be a personal weakness of mine, but while there have been examples of characters I have found gut-wrenching, far more often I find this sort of thing tedious and amateurish. In the case of Rainbow Rabbits with Rabies there are funny bits here and there (some of the songs are an absolute delight, and I want to know where I can buy the mp3s) and the media play is fun and creative, but Henriksen herself has us in the palm of her hand when she’s just being funny on her own and we can find ourselves sitting through a character bit wondering when ‘Nicole’ is going to come back.
Saying all of that, Henriksen herself has us in stitches. Her comedy is topical, sharp, and unrelenting. She takes no prisoners, using us for her own pleasure and keeping us writhing from one witticism to the next. It’s a curious kind of intimacy, there in the little tent with this larger-than-life personality bearing down on us and confessions start coming out… Some of us are One Direction fans, it may be true, but Henriksen is all-forgiving. The show dips in and out of sexual tension, lulling us into a false sense of security and then BAM! she places us firmly in the spotlight, our quivering nerves laid bare beneath her razor-sharp wit.
This is a decidedly fun show – a light-hearted romp where the audience are brought together by the shared role in Henriksen’s pantomime, laughin’ and learnin’. It’s a feel-good session of silly-time fun with Nicole and her ‘pals’. Keep an eye on this young comedian; we’ll be looking for her on the fringe circuit in future.