Despite winning the 2011 Barry Award, British comedian Russell Kane remains a lesser-known stand-up amongst the various ‘big acts’ playing the 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival. However, the anxiously camp and worldly witty routine that he brings to the stage this year is definitely deserving of a bigger following.

Swirling onto the stage in a Red Bull fuelled flurry, Kane claimed jet lag but buzzed like a truckie on an all-night long haul road trip. The act, regularly interspersed with improv powered by audience interaction, is fast paced and according to the comedian ‘different every night’, so therefore worth a return visit. Certainly, audience members in a more relaxed frame of mind might need a reprise to catch everything Kane throws out in his rapid-fire delivery, as it’s all worthy of attention.

This is one Essex lad who likes to defy stereotypes with his erudite and well-observed views on the social behaviours of Brits, Aussies and Americans amongst various other nationalities. Kane is an excellent mimic, nailing the Australian accent just as deftly as he pierces his own country’s regional dialects, taking particular delight in elongating the natural drawl of wife’s Mancunian brogue.

Even though the major focus of Kane’s routine is upon cultural differences between countries, the title, Smallness, actually refers to a more minor thread in the act, the idea of keeping life in perspective rather than always reaching for the next big ‘stage’ of our lives. Kane’s worldly-wise observations even extend to categorising everyone into one of two types of sleeping style – being a light sleeper himself, those who find it easy to drop off draw his ire.

Although Kane has a disconcerting way of constantly rejigging his trousers that seems to be born from nervous energy (and unintentionally draws attention to his crotch) he’s a truly confident performer who never leaves the audience feeling outside of safe hands for very long. This is the perfect gig to bring international guests along to, more than any other in this year’s festival is – Russell Kane makes everyone feel comfortable and included.

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