Steen Raskopoulos doesn’t so much as put on a show, but create a world in which the audience are his puppets.
His approach is far from traditional, creating humour in discomfort, prompting your imagination to fill the gaps in the scenes he creates and takes things in so many directions you never reach a point where it becomes predictable.
He creates an all encompassing comedy trip, right from his name being subliminally interjected into the background music as the punters poured into the Powerhouse's Turbine Studio (12 March), right through to the end as his motionless husk lay lifeless as the disco soundtrack played so happily around him.
I could go into more detail, but the beauty of this is to experience it first hand.
This isn’t catchphrase comedy or a series of tired observations, Steen uses sketches to take his comedy to places otherwise impossible to reach, fulfilling on multiple levels. He leverages his improvisational skills to use the audience as a tool in his arsenal.
The show opened in an easy, engaging way with a basketball hoop for audience members to throw scrunched paper at, then quickly navigated into riskier territory as he members of the audience were encouraged to caress his naked torso.
As insane and bold a way to start a show as it sounds, he pulls it off with ease, setting the scene and letting the audience know that there’s no such thing as passive participation in this event. He is at his funniest when playing on audience discomfort.
A series of sketches following a good-natured child who has been left at school, waiting patiently for his father to pick him up shouldn’t be funny. There is no punchline in its first segment, and as the spotlight begins to fade, the schadenfreude gets too much and suddenly someone chuckles. Suddenly the laughter spreads as someone else laughs at the inappropriate laugher and so on.
Combine this with getting audience members to dance on stage with nothing more than a silent point, and you suddenly realise how it went down with the pied piper in Hamlin all those years ago.
I was still finding funny moments clicking in my head long after the show had finished, which is always a positive sign.
If you’re not afraid to dabble in the absurd then this is the show for you.