Michael Berkeley's guest this week is the stand-up comedian, actor and media personality Russell Kane, who is currently touring his new show, Smokescreens and Castles, around the UK, including the Edinburgh Festival. He won the Laughing Horse New Act of the Year in 2004, and two years later took his debut comedy show, 'The Theory of Pretension', to the Edinburgh Fringe. In August 2008 he took his stand-up show 'Gaping Flaws' to the Edinburgh Festival, along with his hour-long Fakespeare play, The Lamentable Tragedie of Yates's Wine Lodge, which he also performed at Stratford-upon-Avon. In 2009 he returned to Edinburgh with his play Fakespeare and a new stand-up show, Human Dressage. He has been nominated three times for the major Edinburgh comedy award. (formerly The Perrier). In 2008 he appeared on the BBC's 'Live at the Apollo', and has hosted several series of BBC Radio 2's 'Out to Lunch'. He presents a Sunday afternoon show on Q Radio digital station.
Nothing if not erudite, Russell Kane cites Anthony Trollope among his favourite writers and Paula Rego as a favourite artist. His musical private passions begin with the third movement of Beethoven's 'Moonlight' Sonata, which he cites as a musical metaphor for the way his brain works when he is onstage. Bartok's Rhapsody No.1 for violin and piano makes him feel rustic and gleeful, while he fell in love with Chopin's Nocturne No.2 in E flat after watching Polanski's film 'The Pianist'. He loves piano music, and has chosen Debussy's Clair de lune and the Piano Sonata No.3 by Scriabin, whose music reminds him of his own writing process, passion firing off in all directions. Finally there's Schubert's Quartettsatz - he says he owes his love of Schubert to the impeccable taste of Woody Allen.