Steen Raskopoulos: I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (comedy): Steen Raskopoulos: I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business at Underbelly, Bristo Square (Venue 300). Review by Jay Richardson

He doles out business cards after the show, but Steen Raskopoulos really needn’t bother, because his Fringe debut has laid down an impressive enough marker. Incorporating his entire audience from even before his hour begins and as many as he can before the end, this is one of those rare interactive shows where you genuinely want to be involved.

It certainly helps that the Australian is such a gifted character comic, his distinctive creations immediately setting up fun, quirky situations, which he deftly drives to absurd extremes. The sheer irrepressibility of I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business is defined by the uncompromising Toby Zegamo, whose mantra is: “Business. Never. Stops.” Pay close attention, meet his expectations and Zegamo will hail you.

When someone is coerced into an uncomfortable situation, erotically so for several, Raskopoulos demonstrates belief in their capacity to ad-lib with him. Naturally, this demands a fair amount of improvisational dexterity from him too. But he’s limber-witted and the mild potential for disaster keeps it compelling.

If Zegamo powers the hour, the emotional core is Timmy, a little boy abandoned by his father, not so much tugging, as ripping at the heartstrings.

Other memorable and fully rounded creations include Greek orthodox priest-film reviewer Yianni Kostopopoulos, incanting his opinion on the latest blockbusters; an hubristic athlete; the cast of a highly strung Hispanic telenovela; and a contrary rapper, subverting the crowd control of most MCs and indeed, this performance.

Not every set-piece is as satisfying – an improvised ghost story didn’t properly take flight on the night I saw it. Yet the abundant energy and goodwill in the room that Raskopoulos whips up ensure that such blips never impede the overall momentum. You’re left admiring the daring of the invention and the flair with which he delivers.

Until 25 August. Today 8:10pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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