Edinburgh Fringe 2009
Russell Kane, self-hailed as ‘The third Russell of Comedy’ returns to the fringe with his latest project: a somewhat cynical adaption of the classic, the big daddy of theatre: Shakespeare. The fringe is home to several adaptations of Shakespeare but this- swerving away from the norm- abuses blank verse to the max, creating a modern sketch with an old English feel. Hilariously funny, and endlessly quirky, this is a must see!
Nigel, or King Nigellio, is an investment banker fallen on tough times. The Credit Crunch has hit hard and, avas… no longer can he afford his extravagant lifestyle in Essex. Faced with only one last investment opportunity with questionable motives – basically bagging cash from dying children in Sudan – the only alternative is to commit “self-toppage”. The noose hangs and King Nigel steps up for his last fall.. but wait! Enter his mistress Donna with a cunning plan. Can all be saved? Will the couple be together forever in a blissful Essex paradise?!
Most of the charm of the piece derives from the original concept, and it being, quite frankly, a little ridiculous. To write a story about the credit crunch in blank verse would probably go down like a lead balloon in most boardrooms. However, Kane actually pulls it of: the sketch is stupid, slapstick and in places totally crass: but it’s also brilliant. The script is easy going, light and witty and very enjoyable to watch. Virtually every celebrity since the birth of modern culture is named and attacked through simile, and the dialogue is punchy and sharp. The piece only pauses for the highly dramatised soliloquies: expect amateur drama school acting techniques and dodgy spotlighting galore!
Kane himself is a brilliantly expressive actor and stand-up: half of the pieces’ comic genius comes from his facial and physical contortions. He commands the stage and has his audience blissfully balanced on tip toes, eagerly awaiting the next gag, the next plot twist, the next dig at some poor unsuspecting celebrity. The other half of his comedy duo, Donna, is horrendously stereotypical and consequently, comedy gold.
This is hilarious. Highly recommended. Just don’t turn up expecting anything resembling Shakespeare, because if you do, you may be in for a shock.