Nina Oyama Needs a Lift review

Comedy, Stand Up
3 out of 5 stars
Nina Oyama Needs a Lift 2019
Photograph: Supplied

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

The former Tonightly correspondent is starring in her first solo stand-up show

There aren’t many people who manage to rack up 13 driving offences over the course of just five years, but Nina Oyama is well ahead of the curve. To be fair, she did a lot of driving when she was studying theatre in Bathurst and travelling regularly back and forth to Sydney, but that doesn’t make up for some of the genuinely stupid decisions she’s made while behind the wheel.

The stories connected to those fines form the backbone of this debut solo show from the comedian who’s appeared on the ABC’s Utopia and Tonightly. It’s an evocative and frequently funny trip through regional NSW and student life, with the expected drug use, associated vomiting, and creative solutions to poverty. Oyama keeps a tight handle on what’s a pretty unruly story and proved herself adept at dealing with a rowdy late night Friday crowd when we reviewed. And she has the sort of warm presence that means you still like her even when you’re shaking your head at her sheer stupidity.

For a debut solo show, it’s hugely impressive, and there are plenty of clear indications that she could be destined for bigger things. But her material might end up changing a bit if she’s going to go mainstream. We’re not entirely sure how relatable some of the wilder stories are – there are a few that it’s probably best we don’t mention here for their legal implications – but perhaps more relatable than most of us would like to admit.


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