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Reviews / High energy comedy at Clickimin

Comedian Russell Kane at the Clickimin on Wednesday night: 'jolting and thrusting in entertaining style' -Photo: Davie Gardner

SHETLAND is in the midst of a purple patch when it comes to visits from comedians – and long may it continue, writes Chris Cope.

Seann Walsh and Mark Simmons broke out the belly laughs in September, while Mark Steel is returning in November – and let’s not forget about the likes of Ross Noble and Dylan Moran who have visited in recent years.

The latest comedian to head up north was Russell Kane, perhaps best known for appearing on the telly on shows like Live At The Apollo and Celebrity Juice.

“Ladies, gentlemen…people of Sandveien!” Kane exclaimed as he introduced himself before heading on stage at the Clickimin Bowls Hall on Wednesday evening. Things looked up from the off.

The healthy crowd was treated to two sets, with the Englishman running through a more slapdash warm-up set; bringing a support act with him on the small plane would have scuppered the weight limits and caused dire consequences, he quipped.

To kick off, Kane covered topics like leaving the European Union – of course – while jokes about an imaginary hardline “Shetland Front of Independence” group raised a few knowing smirks.

He pranced around the stage like he’d downed four Red Bull-laced coffees in the adjoining Bowlers Bar, jolting and thrusting in entertaining style. Performing, you could tell, was an intrinsic part of his personality.

While some of it was perhaps a little too ‘quirky’ for sections of the older audience – and that’s not mentioning his quickfire, scattergun vocalisations – the younger punters lapped it up.

There were nods to the oppressive Slimming World – a “cult”, if you believe Kane – while his father’s misguided anger towards his son’s campness and past penchant for fake tan was a particular highlight.

Indeed, his grumpy father – and family – was an overarching theme to the show. The main set was entitled Right Man, Wrong Age, with Kane ruminating over how he finally reached adulthood status after years of poor diet, fashion and life choices.

The set pirouetted on how Kane recently became a father, with the comedian journeying through conception, birth and the overprotective, sleep-deprived strain of living with a week-old baby.

The stories were vivid, with Kane sprinkling the tales with interesting imagery and witty wordplay, and most importantly there were laughs – and plenty of them too.

Outside of parenthood, the comedian got the crowd rollicking with a tale of his relative on Christmas Day managing to “step and fart” without anyone noticing, while board game mishaps also rung true.

Kane was perhaps at his most affecting when talking about the feeling of love he experienced when his first child was born – not always the best tactic for someone looking for laughs, with little lulls punctuating the night.

He latched onto a couple in the audience whose first child, by some great chance, had the exact same birth as his – a breech baby girl, with the legs over the head – which provided Kane with an angle to repeatedly refer back to.

A “spotlight” shone down on him in the operating theatre post-birth, thrusting Kane into adulthood, before the heart-wrenched comedian “baptised” his daughter with snot and tears.

He admitted he could have concluded the show in two ways – either leaving the gig on the emotional pull, or with a joke. Kane did the latter, referring back to his suntanned chest.

The comedian had performed for nearly two hours, but you’d not have noticed, with time evaporating quickly amid Kane’s non-stop, limb-flailing kineticism.

While there was disappointingly little banter from the crowd – perhaps they were on their best weeknight behaviour – Kane was immersive, amusing and most affectingly, emotive and reflective. Maybe fatherhood has changed him after all.