Russell Kane – Edinburgh Festival review

Self-aware smart arse though he is, Russell Kane has produced another hugely impressive hour of comedy, says Jay Rchardson

Russell_Kane5Tremendous stuff this, as Russell Kane overcomes the outrageously poor acoustics in his ballroom venue, his incessant self-immolation, and hitherto failure to procreate, with a bravura hour of stand-up principally about raising a son.

While statuesque gag-hags offer themselves to him by way of an introduction, he yearns instead to nurture. Beckoned behind the VIP velvet rope in nightclubs, he takes his mum.

With his characteristically nimble skip, he traverses the chasm between comedians banging on about their offspring because they dominate their lives, and the cynical, unattached young bucks who maintain such routines are mainstream pap. The result is an oddly touching yet clinical, analytical hour in which he pours his hopes, insecurities and prejudices into a hypothetical child named “Ivan”.

Since winning the Edinburgh Comedy Award and acquiring a series of television commitments, Kane has been freed from the obligation to deliver a coherent, fully formed show – unquestionably a good thing given his restless energy and rollercoaster love life. Naturally for this show, he draws once again from the legacy of his own cruel, ultra-masculine father. But there’s also more of Kane’s mother in this one: her vim, use of language and class consciousness fizzing out of her child.

Occasionally you find yourself wishing he could define himself more robustly. But such a happy incident would doubtless blunt the restless interrogations of his soul and the sometimes surprising, inconsistent positions he takes, keeping his ascendant star unpredictable and compelling. Self-aware smartarse that he is, simultaneously burdened by familiarity with stand-up conventions and the desire for fame, Kane is nevertheless more original than he gives himself credit for.

4 stars

Russell Kane – Posturing Delivery is on at 9pm at the Assembly Rooms
Review written by Jay Richardson

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