There are dick jokes a plenty in Nikki Britton’s One Small Step, but her show is no Puppetry of the Penis. Britton is one of the most skilled comics on the circuit – her timing is impeccable; her audience banter honed and her personality suggests brassy yet vulnerable.
She’s a feminist who loves sex… and admits it, but can’t take the inanity of dating apps, the visual site of male genitalia (hairy meat chandeliers is her especially evocative description) or societal expectations around single women.
One Small Step cleverly mixes forthright observational stand up with a narrative thread (a European holiday that doesn’t go quite as expected), all peppered with Britton's tight delivery and anecdotes about a mother-daughter trip to Vanuatu that also did not pan out as planned. The hour roars along at a steady pace. Nothing drags it down and Britton is in top form from go to woah.
Britton severely damaged her ankle when she fell off a train upon arrival in Italy and endured weeks of limping around a honeymoon hotel in Cinque Terre, befriending only a pigeon and a local old woman. It was one of those unfortunate but ultimately life-affirming experiences that gives her reams of material.
Without it, she wouldn’t have the scaffold of her show, so maybe the misdiagnosis from the chain-smoking Dr Guiseppe who called her a f***ing idiot was a blessing in disguise.
One Small Step blends the mundane and crude with larger life messages, both affirming and sobering. Never shying away from her disdain of self-help proclamations, Britton works all the material into an ultimately uplifting and high-laugh content show that bares some profound truths (especially about behaviour at airport baggage carousels.)
Accompanying holiday slides/snaps enhance the presentation and validate Britton’s stories. They are low-fi and effective, as is a leaf blower that an audience member points at her for windy-haired booty dancing.
There’s no shortcut to self-healing, but if you stay the long game, you reap rewards. So too in the comedy world – Britton has been doing her thing for many, steady years and One Small Step (which won recognition at the 2020 Adelaide Fringe) confirms a next-level status.
A Token Event
One Small Step
Venue: Cloak Room | Melbourne Town Hall, 100 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC
Dates: 25 March – 18 April 2021
Tickets: $29 – $25