“I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business”
Steen Raskopoulos Wee Coo 8:10pm until 25th August
Steen Raskopoulos is a pretty tall guy, and he’s not got a lot of space to work with. Here at the aptly named Wee Coo, a tiny demountable venue in Bristo Square, he’d struggle to stretch out to his full wingspan even without being packed in on two sides by the audience.
What’s remarkable is that despite – or perhaps due to – a front row that’s close enough to reach out and stroke him, the Australian somehow pulls off an hour-long set that mixes pratfalling and physical comedy with Beckettesque monologues. The man has the spatial awareness of Mark Rothko crossed with Daredevil; the timing and character presence of a stage actor; and the enthusiasm and warmth of a genuine entertainer.
The result is an almost conspiratorial performance that feels more like a house party than a gig, with an intimate yet uptempo energy.
Steen Raskopoulos: I’m Wearing Two Suits Because I Mean Business is a one-man improv sketch show with characters like Timmy the schoolboy and business tycoon Mr. Zagamo. It boils down to a series of short semi-structured scenes, built into a larger narrative. This isn’t your standard hour of airline-peanut one-liners – think Theatresports (but actually good) and you’d be on the right lines.
The nature of the show demands that Steen has someone to play off. While he’s fully capable of inhabiting two or three characters in the same sketch, expect plenty of audience interaction here. For those of us – and I’m strongly in this camp – who hate having to participate in a comedian’s routine, rest assured that not only does Two Suits make it seem like fun, it’s also a surprisingly comfortable and unthreatening experience.
Playing improv with a bunch of drunk festival-goers is inevitably an exercise in controlled chaos, and Steen deftly handles the sometimes messy results with aplomb. I almost (unintentionally) trashed one of his sketches myself, but he swiftly came back with an assured touch that belies his years in the Sydney group improv scene.
In fact, despite this being a breakout year for Steen (including Best Newcomer at Sydney and nomination for the same at Melbourne), Steen has been perfecting his craft for a while now with comedians like brother Jordan Raskopoulos (of Axis of Awesome fame) and on television shows like This Is Littleton. Two Suits is his first Fringe venture, but both his career trajectory and the quality of his material suggest that it won’t be his last.