**** STARS

By Adam Rafferty

Probably best known for her role as the sex-positive nosy neighbour Marlo on Peter Helliar’s sitcom How to Stay Married, Nikki Britton mightn’t be a household name yet, but with the way she works a leaf blower, she’s destined to be a star. Britton has the kind of lovable, life of the hen’s party personality that instantly clutches an audience metaphorically to her bosom. If the rainbow tinsel bolero jacket she sports doesn’t instantly tell you you’re in for a night of fun, she pretty quickly demonstrates it with her sassy, whip smart humour.

She’s a thirtysomething single girl on the prowl, but she’s given up the dating apps, so that made a year spent in lockdown especially ‘quiet’ for her. This loads her comedy with a kind of pent up energy that fellow single Melbournians, finally on the social loose, should be able to easily empathise with. Britton’s routine is clearly one intended for last year’s festival, but the subject matter hasn’t dated. Unexpectedly, it’s kind of a sad tale of lost opportunity, injury and holidays spent listening to others enjoying sensual pleasures while she either dies of pain or embarrassment.

Thankfully, she’s not one to let a bad situation get her down; she’s read The Secret so she knows the (non-existent) power of positive determination, and if that doesn’t work then a naturally upbeat and bubbly nature will spin a terrible experience into an hilarious routine and kick bad luck in the butt. There’s nothing an incompetent Italian back-street doctor, nor a randy and tuneless mother can do to stop her from winning the day.

This might be One Small Step, but it’s a giant leap towards the top tier of Australian comedy via a shoulder shimmying boogie! Britton shows us all that we should get out and enjoy life together again. It’s a lot more fun that way.