Russell Kane: Gaping Flaws
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Nominated for the 2008 if.comedy prize
2006 was a tub-thumping critical success. 2007 was a sell-out run, garnering an Elizabeth Dukedom of glimmering four and five star reviews. Heís back for a third annus. Strap in for some super speed sunderings, cod-sociology, and fizzy rants at the smug elites who try to pulls our strings and tick our boxes.
Russell Kane is an exceptional comedian, his pace is relentless and his material beautifully observed and exquisitely crafted. He bounds on stage with an energy and passion that is compulsive and contagious and barely pauses for breath as he pontificates on why flaws are a good thing, and why British people shun perfection and revel in oddities.
There is a subtlety beneath Kaneís swaggering silliness and he touches on some provocative issues including racism, genetic engineering and feminism. There is a real heartfelt intensity when he discusses his fatherís negativity and bigotry.
He shares truly disturbing stories from his childhood that today would have social services banging down the door, but never does this feel like a call for sympathy. Kane delivers this material with a fondness and this darker content is always tempered with huge laughs from killer punchlines.
Initially I am dubious about the human Powerpoint presentation that he introduces. Actress Sadie Hasler is employed to create a visual aid to accompany each section. But this gimmick is used sparingly and to great effect, especially when it appears to hit technical difficulties, leaving Kane and the audience giggling uncontrollably.
There are several comparisons between the Brits and the Americans, but again this is not done in a judgmental way. Kane seems to have an admiration for the US quest for perfection, and the typically American confidence in their own faultlessness. Itís a different slant on the transatlantic divide and it is refreshing, well-observed and incredibly funny.
So many of Kaneís routines benefit from his slightly twisted way of viewing the world. He has an ability to extract the funny from everything from the mundane to the repulsive, from his dislike of Nuts magazine to OAP sex. Every gag just has a slightly left of centre approach, so the unexpected punchlines blindside you, leaving you puzzled as to how you didnít see it coming.
This is inspiring and brilliant stand-up, and Kane proves his own theory as each glitch, each unexpected heckle, each trip over the mic cable, every little flaw actually makes the show perfect.
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw