tue 16/08/2022

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre | reviews, news & interviews

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Steen Raskopoulos, Soho Theatre

Superb character comedy from Australian debutant

Steen Raskopoulos gained a deserved nomination for best newcomer at the Edinburgh Fringe

Steen Raskopoulos has hit the ground running with his debut show; it was nominated for a Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award (best newcomer) at the Fringe earlier this month, after he won Sydney Comedy Festival 2013 and Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014’s best newcomer gongs.

I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business is a very fine hour of sketch and character comedy. Steen ("short for Steeeeeeeeen") Raskopoulos does indeed come on stage wearing two jackets and then strips off from the waist up. He persuades members of the audience to slather him in sunscreen lotion – which they do more or less willingly, such is his charm – one of several participatory elements in the show.

Some of the comedy relies on audience members to drive the sketch along, and this is risky stuff for a comic

None of the audience participation is to humiliate the audience, though, rather it's to involve us in the fun (the first task we have involves throwing scrunched-up paper balls into a mini basketball hoop, and is a childish delight).

This approach shows off Raskopoulos’s improvisational skills as some of the comedy relies on audience members to drive the sketch along, and this is risky stuff for a comic. If the person stumbles over their words or dries up, the story could have nowhere to go but Raskopoulos is quick-witted enough to take even a lame offering and make something of it.

His characters are all clearly delineated by voice, gesture and stance and include a film-loving Greek Orthodox priest, an unconventional rapper and a hubristic Olympic athlete. Two characters – Toby Zegamo, an unsympathetic and bumptious self-made businessman (Business. Never. Stops) and Timmy, a timorous schoolboy eager to please his classmates and teachers – provide narrative threads in the hour. With Timmy, Steen proves himself an actor and writer of note.

There are neat set-ups placed early in the show to provide a series of callbacks in the hour and some cracking – and unexpected – payoffs. Great fun.

  • Steen Raskopoulos is at Soho Theatre, London W1 until 30 August


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