Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Nina Oyama is Coming, Nina Oyama, Adelaide Fringe 2024 ★★★★★

Before watching her stand-up show I had no idea who Nina Oyama was. I now know her to be a bisexual woman, a stress-addict, a mixed-race child and a terrible driver with a semi-justified vendetta against cyclists. She is also an incredibly funny individual who giggles at her own jokes and questions which of her stories and thoughts the audience are truly ready to hear.

As the title of her show suggests Nina Oyama is not a comedian scared to delve deep into the personal and sexual parts of her identity. Fisting, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, UTI’s, her male flat-mates, and living as a marginalised identity are but a few of the topics she weaves into her stand-up routine. Interspersed throughout the routine are also a handful of fun and scary statistics. For example, there are more CEO’s called Andrew in the world than there are female CEO’s.

Representation is a motivating force in Oyama’s comedy. Comedy, confession and cold-heart facts seamlessly intertwine to create something silly yet significant. Oyama shares how many women have endometriosis, and then in an inventive and highly amusing turn she sombrely tells us that means 0.5% of female CEO’s have endometriosis. No one needs to know that, but Oyama’s going to tell us, and then we’re going to wonder whether a female CEO with endometriosis exists. And if she knows she’s the only one.

Oyama’s comedy invites you into her world, and even on stage the audience are included in her internal narrative. When she stumbles over her words, loses her train of thought, or struggles to read her badly written show notes she blames drugs – and then shares how nerve-wracking it is to be on stage in front of a room full of people. She is a comedian that made her name firstly through TV shows like Utopia, Taskmaster Australia, and the fictional series Deadloch…

She is something of a stranger to the art of gigging. At other times her onstage debate as to whether to tell the next joke feel like a stylistic choice to build tension and keep the audience engaged. Maybe she’s an amateur or maybe she’s a master, I couldn’t quite tell and that was part of the fun.

Insightful, chaotic and hilariously honest, Nina Oyama is an endearing force on stage. She’ll make you feel vaguely embarrassed to call yourself a cyclist, she’ll have you remembering the strangest of facts and she’ll tell you of her revolutionary plan for healthcare which involves the sensational Sugababes hit ‘Push the Button’.  

Recommended Drink: Fireball – a small shot packing plenty of heat and spice.

Catch Nina Oyama is Coming until March 17th. Tickets can be purchased through the Adelaide Fringe Box Office.

Eilidh McKenzie

Eilidh is a writer, reader and avid watcher of film, television and theatre. She loves writing that blends comedy with darkness, and makes public the quirks of life and character that we've been taught to hide. She also aspires to be fluent in Spanish, but so far this has proved far harder than expected.

Festivals: Adelaide Fringe (2024)
Pronouns: She/Her