Once you’ve seen Russell Kane’s high-energy stand-up a couple of times you start to notice a theme emerging: so much of his material is about his clearly difficult relationship with his father that sometimes you feel as if you’re eavesdropping on a therapy session.
It’s a seam of comedy which Kane mines expertly, and he got his biggest laughs at Lincoln Drill Hall (Friday 25th March) when describing his father’s knuckle-scraping attitudes to education, women, the arts and foreigners. The chicken shaslik routine will live long in the memory.
Kane’s sense that he has outgrown his working class roots permeates his Smokescreens and Castles show; he talks at length about his family’s upward social mobility, comparing the clipped Essex accent with the London drawl many people like his father have now left behind.
However Kane is an able improviser and many of his best lines at the Drill Hall came from his lengthy interaction with the audience, which he reckoned added half an hour to the start of the show. Americans, Australians, Internet daters, dads who are friends with their teenage daughters – all were mercilessly lampooned, as were the Brits themselves whose foibles he mocked with equal relish.
Given the amount of effort he puts into his live routine Russell Kane deserves to be a success. When he bounced onto the stage his sheer physical energy was a welcome counterpoint to support act Nat Luurtsema, who lacked material of similar quality and struggled to engage her audience. An hour and ten minutes later Kane called it a night and prepared to jet off to Australia, where he was due to step off the plane and perform at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.
There’s much talk just now of Lincoln becoming a provincial comedy capital, and if the city can continue to attract top acts like Russell Kane there’s no reason to disbelieve the hype.