Russell Kane sparks back into action with a new format, anchoring a podcast about various news stories from the last few days. The show is good and Russell Kane is flawless, although the direction is a little more unclear. But there's no shortage of entertainment and debate contained in the hour at Assembly Checkpoint.
The advantage of the format was that the material was incredibly fresh, taken from the past week, and will change from show to show.
The best part of the podcast was undoubtedly Kane's opening extravaganza. He treats us to a few minutes of his standup genius, full of energy, sparkling wit and unparalleled facial expressions. He finds himself in his element, and was fully successful in warming the audience up for the podcast recording. The only problem was, I was enjoying it too much and rather wanted more.
The energy noticeably dropped as the other comedians were welcomed on stage, and everyone was seated for the remainder of the show. It was obvious that Kane does not belong in a seat but should instead be flamboyantly strutting the stage. Though the introduction of three new faces allowed for some sharp banter, none came very close to matching Kane’s quick wit.
Iain Stirling produced some worthy additions whilst Steve Bugeja was likeable in his self-deprecation. The third panel member was Sophie Hagen from Denmark and her soft-spoken nature offered a change from the males. It was a nice touch to include a foreign perspective too, though this could have been pursued further.
The advantage of the format was that the material was incredibly fresh, taken from the past week, and will change from show to show. It did add another dimension to the performance in that it became something more than just pure comedy, and provoked a few thoughts regarding the stories. However, at times it felt like its intention was unclear: was the show using news stories purely as a platform to create comedy, or was it to present thoughtful issues in an entertaining way? To conclude each topic, a headline was formulated; yet without these being particularly funny or having any real function, these felt too much like a redundant device.
There is no doubt that Kane is the shining light of this show, whilst the other comedians provide strong backup and make it the enjoyable exhibition of witty observation that it is. The format provides freshness and a thought-provoking element, but I was still left half-wishing that it had simply been an hour of Russell Kane stand up.