Honest and compelling, Nicole Henriksen doesn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics in her new Fringe show A Robot in Human Skin. Discussing her struggle with crippling anxiety, Henriksen allows the audience an insight into her world, illustrating to the audience just what it’s like to have grown up different to the children around her. She takes us under her wing on a journey through the realisation of her anxiety, numerous doctor appointments, losing friends and a mother who simply refused to believe that there was anything wrong with her. It’s strong stuff.
Yet, Henrikson, having been around the comedy circuit a few times, doesn’t let the show slip too deep into those bleak moments. She possesses a naturally light and charismatic charm that lifts the spirits of the audience no matter how dark the subject matter gets. She conveys her experience with unbridled honesty, but never fails to pick up on the small, side-splittingly funny moments in between. Just because the show is about anxiety doesn’t mean that she has to ignore the retrospectively ludicrous things she did as a neurotic and nervous child – and believe me there are many.
Most impressively, in spite of her continuing struggle Henriksen delivers the show with a passionate confidence in her subject material, but also in herself. She is engaging, energetic and never leaves an empty silence in her wake which is a credit to her ability as a performer and a writer. At the very end, the secret of the show’s title is revealed to us in a tender moment.
Growing up she may have considered herself a robot masquerading as human, but her delivery this Fringe is very much alive and endearing.
Words: Emily Hay
A Robot in Human Skin, Underbelly Med Quad, Aug 2-28 (not 15), 8.30pm