Steen Raskopoulos: Bruce SpringSTEEN Live In Concert

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

Steen Raskopoulos is clearly very annoyed that no one ever gets his unusual first name right. But give him a few years, and it will surely be familiar to a lot more people, as his debut is the sort of calling card that has ‘destined for bigger things’ written all over it.

As a one-man sketch/character showcase (with very little to do with The Boss, save for the incidental music), this hour has its ups and downs, especially in early scenes. But some inspired ideas, unexpected bursts of oddness, and a great knack for improvised audience interaction ultimately makes for a winning formula.

Raskopoulos, an engagingly physical performer and member of the Delusionists sketch group, is not a man who respects the fourth wall, and he clambers in and over the seating with abandon, but not too much intimidation, as he recruits supporting cast from the ticket-holders.

Yet his creations are restrained enough to be believable, so even when his characterisation doesn’t generally go particularly deep, he steers clear of stereotypes.

Recurring characters, developing scenes and cunning callbacks give the show a satisfying weight,and suggest a longer form might be his best next move, especially as he’s not afraid of tempering the comedy atmosphere with something as pathos-laden as his lonely schoolboy Timmy.

Other highlights include the nicely deranged drama teacher Bert Cromwell, the Greek Orthodox Priest doing a very unusual job, and a scene set in a professor’s office that’s set out in intricate detail.

Sometimes his gags are a little cheap: a sporty coach spouting unintentional double-entendres is hardly inspired, and even our acting lesson eventually descends below the belt. His reverse Billy Elliot – about a beer-swilling dad forcing his son to follow the family dancing tradition against his will – is a notion that dates back to Python, at least, but is skillfully executed here.

Yet elsewhere, the script is unpredictable, laced with subtle but effective flourishes and unexpected asides. You’re never quite sure where the show will go next, yet it still retains an identifiable style, which is hard for any disjointed sketch show to pull off. And this is what makes it a firm first footstep for Raskopoulos’s solo career .

Review date: 11 Apr 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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