THE COOLEST KID IN COMPETITIVE CHESS – #EdFringe

In Comedy, Edinburgh Festival, Festivals, Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland by Laura KresslyLeave a Comment

Guest reviewer: Jo Trainor

Is there a style of comedy that Steen Raskopolous hasn’t mastered? Having found the Australian comedian as half of improvisation duo The Bear Pack, I knew how quick-witted he is, and how absurd some of his characters are but it turns out he can throw all these skills together and create side-splitting sketches too.

As a warning, The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess is heavy on the audience interaction. We are lucky to have such a receptive group the evening I am there, but I think that’s probably the case most of the time. Raskopolous is so warm and charismatic that almost everyone who comes on stage is open to taking part, whether that involves onions or interpretive dance. Those who are a little hesitant are calmly coached by Raskopolous to get the information he needs, and the room is just as supportive because of how well the show is going. In fact, by the end of it you’re kind of a little jealous that you didn’t get picked to play along. Or at least I definitely am. Seriously Steen, I am sat on an aisle seat, near the front, looking enthusiastic for a reason.

This is sketch at its silliest, but Raskopolous makes what originally seems like unrelated skits and characters fit together into one hilarious narrative with an adorable, albeit smelly, ending. When you start clocking all the little ways stories that are so seemingly goofy and off the cuff are interlinked it gives the show that extra something special about it. It’s both intelligent and ridiculous – and that’s definitely a thing.

With two shows, you’ve got twice the opportunity to see Steen Raskopolous before the end of the fringe and he goes back to Sydney, so get on it!

The Coolest Kid in Competitive Chess runs through 27 August.

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Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.
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Laura Kressly
Laura is a US immigrant who has lived in the UK since 2004. Originally trained as an actor with a specialism in Shakespeare, she enjoyed many pre-recession years working as a performer, director and fringe theatre producer. When the going got too tough, she took a break to work in education as a support worker, then a secondary school drama teacher. To keep up with the theatrical world, she started reviewing for Everything Theatre and Remotegoat in 2013. In 2015, Laura started teaching part time in order to get back into theatre. She is now a freelance fringe theatre producer and runs her independent blog, theplaysthethinguk.com.