Nina Oyama – Nina Oyama Needs A Lift

16 May 2019 | 2:42 pm | Mick Radojkovic

"It’s the manner of her honest and passionate delivery that really had the audience locked in for the ride."

The shipping container space of the Terminal at Factory Theatre may seem like an intimate comedy venue, but at capacity, 70 people assembled in a U-shape around the performer, it's a decent size. Best Newcomer-nominee at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Nina Oyama, started her Sydney Comedy Festival run with a kick.

So often, stand-up comedy can be all about the fabricated joke; a make-believe or exaggerated scenario. All of 25-year-old Oyama’s debut hour-long stand-up show was taken straight from her real life. 

True, poking fun at the residents of Bathurst (where Oyama went to university) or telling stories of picking fruit off the ground to survive were the source of some cheap laughs, but it’s the manner of her honest and passionate delivery that really had the audience locked in for the ride. Although, perhaps going for a ride with Oyama is an issue considering the (lucky?) 13 traffic offences she’s managed in her short driving career.

Recounting these fines was the driving force behind the show, but it gave Oyama the chance to divert into stories of her family, crushes, drug-addled experiences and theatre school, all told with the same degree of cheekiness and uprightness. There weren't too many times when Oyama deviated from the main road, although riffing with acquaintances in the audience and high-fiving the front row were endearing.

There were a few times where the stories swerved into self-deprecation and while that can be a slippery path, she managed to find her way back to a good place, which, it seems is where the star of Utopia and Tonightly is at currently. 

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This show was worthy of its accolades and had the crowd in stitches. We got the feeling that Oyama takes life as it comes, so where exactly we’ll end up seeing her again is anyone’s guess, but if she can recount her next experiences in the same way, she’ll attract many a fan to her future endeavours. But it’s fair to say, she’ll be getting there via public transport.

Performed as part of Sydney Comedy Festival.