If you like being plucked from a crowd and asked to perform an impromptu interpretative dance in front of people you’ve never met before, Steen Raskopoulos’s show is the one for you. If not? Well… maybe you’re actually really good at interpretive dancing? Why waste an opportunity?

In this zany sketch comedy, Raskopoulos introduces us to a plethora of peculiar characters, from shady driving instructors to hard done by charity workers to the titular prospective chess champion. The sketches are entertainingly eccentric, and Raskopoulos brings each of his characters to life with a refreshing zealousness.

What unfolds onstage is, at times, relatable (disappointing haircuts, anyone?), and consistently original. Several hilarious sketches come together to form what can almost be described as a plot, proving structure can be found even in the realm of highly outlandish comedy.

Raskopoulos demonstrates an impressive capacity for improvisation, building some of his show around suggestions from the audience. He also has a particular penchant for audience participation (he insists this “comes from a place of love”): there are multiple occasions where certain ticket holders are expected to become characters in the sketches, which –depending on your disposition – is either a dream come true or a total nightmare.

It’s undeniable that what Raskopoulos brings to the Festival is a helping of clever, exciting comedy, and wow-worthy improv skills. Ultimately, though, if the notion of extensive audience interaction makes you feel even slightly nauseous, you’d maybe prefer to sit this one out.

Words: Morgan Laing

Steen Raskopoulos: The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess, Underbelly Cowgate, Aug 8-27 (not 14), 8pm

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