Russell Kane: The Fast and the Curious
- Jay Richardson
- 27 March 2019
This article is from 2019
Broad brushstrokes and fun physicality keep Kane ahead of the pack
Russell Kane may have become a father and moved to leafy Cheshire, but as his show title acknowledges, it's still impossible to temper his intensity, both onstage and off. The limber comic barely stops moving for the entirety of his two-hour set, his expressive physicality adding hammer-emphasis to his observations. Like a Punch sketch self-animated, he paints in broad caricature but with memorable detail; a portrayal of the Essex Brexiteers in his family is encapsulated by judgemental Uncle Darren, gurning, hunched and propelled by hatred across the stage, starkly contrasted with his own, floaty pirouettes through his liberal media bubble.
More so than ever, and in declared defiance of The Guardian and Stewart Lee, Kane breaks people down into two types. Whether it's agitated strivers and the laid-back detached, or simply the respective civility of British and German holidaymakers in Majorca, he sets up dialectics that invariably reduce to archetype but which fuel and inform some very funny act-outs.
Where Kane casts himself as keeping his head down and seeking an easy life, his wife is characterised as a twitchy Mancunian, always searching for conflict. The odd disclaimer aside, he takes it as read that we know that he loves her and his daughter deeply, it's just funnier and more relatable to depict them as the stuff of nightmares, specifically The Exorcist in his child's case.
As Kane appreciates, seeking to distil the differences between genders, with a side consideration of class awareness, might seem offensively throwback with today's spectrum of identities. But therein lies the challenge, to still get at truth and make connections, and it's one he rises to successfully again and again. Plenty of his sweeping statements might not bear scrutiny in the cold light of day, but brought to life so vivaciously, they're engagingly persuasive. Besides, as his wife's outrageous behaviour around royalty demonstrates, human nature will always be entertainingly fallible.
Russell Kane: The Fast and the Curious is on tour until Saturday 7 December. Seen as part of the Glasgow International Comedy Festival at King's Theatre, Glasgow.