Given that he has written for the RSC and presented tacky reality show spin-offs, it’s no surprise that Russell Kane finds different levels with his stand-up.
Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh
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Within minutes he’s divided his room into those who want a little bit of politics (will he need a passport the next time he plays this venue, Kane wonders) and those who just want their act to wield the baser parts of their brain. That constituency can sit back and enjoy the flouncing, jogging and marching that a stage as long and wide as the Brunton’s openly invites.
The focus within much of Kane’s full shows to date has been his long-deceased dad, whose working-class emotional constipation gave the aspiring aesthete plenty to rail against. Tonight, his mum takes more of a central role. Now settling into her status as a free and single widow, she is back on the dating game (mirroring her son whose recent divorce has triggered a frenetic “tour of duty”). Being the liberal, free-spirited son, this means going to a club with his mum and her new man, all of which inevitably leads to a drunken clash in which the jealous mother turns into a scarily controlled gangster.
Family is at the root of Kane’s comedy and he goes deeper here, wondering what kind of a father he will be to his imaginary son, Ivan.
At his best, Russell Kane distils ceaseless energy into socially aware, cerebral stand-up. And amid the toilet gags and baiting of the hormone-riddled teens in his front row, he delivers the magic in spades.