Written and performed by Nikki Britton
Review by Caitlin A. Kearney
Nikki Britton’s hometown of Sydney welcomed her to the stage for One Small Step with enthusiasm bordering on whatever a buzzing comedy crowd’s version of reverence is. Two things seem fundamental about Britton: she is warm, and she is glamorous. In short – a good host. Even her jacket suggested that we’d come to a party, being completely constructed of rainbow tinsel.
She expertly read the atmosphere of the room from second to second, not waiting long into the show before accepting a rosé from an audience member and cheerfully asking front of house to provide both herself and the patron with full glasses. She was not just unafraid of the audience; she was fond of us.
While allowing the set to have the air of an ongoing conversation in which she was simply holding court, she never made anyone feel as though they’d been trapped by addressing them. This was fortuitous, as she did not miss a trick, making it clear that if any two people in the packed room were going to chat, she was going to demonstrate loud and genuine curiosity about the chat’s content.
Britton’s style, irrespective of the material, doesn’t ever rest on bitterness. It’s not that Europe, dating apps, or mums are uncharted territory for stand-up by any means, but Britton sparkled enough in her delivery of her simultaneously personal and relatable writing that she really made them seem that way. The show is refreshingly light on pandemic-related bits, which is not to say that it goes so far as to ignore the obvious; Britton referenced lockdowns where necessary and expressed great joy at so many of us being in a theatre together.
She made sure that we knew we were watching last year’s show, and perhaps for that reason could be excused for not freshening up certain lines to keep us in the moment, i.e. “We’re not allowed to travel right now.” For whatever reason, the structure of the show seemed to unintentionally degrade slightly towards the end, when we seemed to arrive quite suddenly at the requisite rapid call-backs to quickly tie everything up, and then it was all over.
Britton used her last few minutes to show thanks – firstly to Glitter Is A Neutral, the designer of her incomparable jacket – and then to us for spending our time with her. She told us that after the damage the arts have sustained over the last several years, she felt she’d been looking at her dream come true for an hour, and we knew how sincere she was from having experienced that hour of her total, unabashed honesty already.
As the audience shouted their own thanks back at her, she encouraged us to patronise more Sydney Comedy Festival (SCF) acts, pointing out the almost secretive nature of festivals in Sydney and how that makes them seem ephemeral when there is truly plenty to see. Overall, there was a wonderful sense of gratitude in the energy of the room that followed us out when the doors opened and we spilt down the stairs, taking pictures of the posters for the SCF shows we were eager to see next.
One Small Step played at The Comedy Store on 6 May 2022. She tours to the Edinburg Fringe Festival from 3 – 28 August 2022.
Follow Nikki Britton on Instagram @thenikkibritton.