Nikki Britton is Romanticide | Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

Nikki Britton is Romanticide

Review by Steve Bennett at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival

‘It’s going to be a lot of energy in a small space for an hour,’ Nikki Britton promises. And indeed delivers.

But Romanticide is so much more than that. Yes, she is a tsunami of sass who uses her powerful force of personality to drive forward this invigorating romp through her many romantic failings and humiliations. But behind the bold physical performance – especially her hilarious miming out of intimate moments – are some great anecdotes, held together with a strong narrative thread. 

In her failed quest for love, she speaks of playing the helpless, polite girl-next-door, inspired by pliant Disney princesses, in the belief that will woo the fellas. But that’s just a veneer for the bawdy, base woman within. 

Since there’s no need for niceties on the comedy stage, we see a lot more of the second personality here, but her unabashed frankness, whether owning her embarrassment or shaming a selfish lover, is compelling. Ignoring red flags in her dates seems to be habitual, and the true tales of her treatment at the hands of awful men make her vulnerable, even if her supercharged confidence on stage suggests otherwise.

This makes the audience – about 80 per cent female, but needn’t be – love her as an old friend, uttering an involuntary, sympathetic ‘aww,’ when she tells of her  heartbreak, a morale-boosting ‘you look great!’ when speaking of her insecurities and plenty of ‘it’s so true’ interjections, which don’t aways help the flow but which Britton incorporates effortlessly and with good grace.

Mores of modern dating, such as the dick pic, inevitably get a look-in, as does gynaecological detail, physical indignity and the delightful phrase ‘tits akimbo’. But everything is kept fresh through personal resonance. Oh and she talks about pigeons, too, which provide a surprisingly relevant analogy for the topic in hand.

Britton can be a dirty comic, for sure, but she does it with a conviction, honesty, and hell-for-leather performance that makes her compelling, especially in such a sweaty, intimate space. Few comics reduce their audience to the constant waves of laughter for the full hour like Britton does. 

She may be failing in romance, but she’s winning in comedy.

Review date: 21 Apr 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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