When the mockumentary Kennyhit cinema screens in 2006, taking us into the life of a passionate Melbourne plumber called Kenny Smyth, who oversees the installation of portaloos for a rental company called Splashdown, an unlikely Aussie hero was born.

Co-written by brothers Clayton Jacobson and Shane Jacobson, directed by Clayton, and starring Shane as Kenny, the warm-hearted, extremely funny film became a big hit.

Ben Wood as Kenny at the Ensemble Theatre. Photograph © Prudence Upton

A few years ago, the Ensemble Theatre had the idea of commissioning a stage version. And so, with the Jacobsons’ permission, Steve Rodgers has adapted Kennyfor the boards. The one-man play was to have had its world premiere in the Ensemble’s 2020 season but COVID-19 caused a big blockage, so Kennyis finally happening as part of this year’s Sydney Festival. And what a delightful, life-affirming show it is.

In the film, Kenny undertook his first ever overseas trip when his boss sent him to the International Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville Tennessee – “Poo HQ” as Kenny dubbed it. There, his open-hearted friendship led...