Angelos Epithemiou And Friends review

Angelos Epithemiou. Dan Skinner

Shooting Stars made an unlikely icon of Angelos Epithemiou. So it's perhaps unsurprising that Vic and Bob's anarchic daftness provides the template for this patchy but enjoyable show from the former burger van owner.

Created by Dan Renton Skinner, sometime member of Perrier-nominated sketch troupe Dutch Elm Conservatoire, the title of the plastic bag-clutching misfit's debut tour is a misnomer. Not only has Glasgow been denied Nick Mohammed, his support act elsewhere. But Epithemiou's psychotically oddball friends are mentioned only in passing. Filtered through his dismissive anecdotes instead of crowding the stage, they exist in grim, projected slides and in one case, as a particularly creepy ventriloquist's dummy.

Yet from the moment he shuffles on to the ragga braggadocio of Mr Boombastic, Epithemiou commands the stage, albeit in his own ill-coordinated fashion. He may complain that he doesn't want "to do this blinking show", eager as he is to hasten home for The 30-Stone Teenager. He might confess to having only three jokes in his 90 minute repertoire and quickly abandon his pretence at breakdancing. The section described as "Entertainment Time" is especially underwhelming. Yet like many aspects of this ragtag performance, it's all the more compelling for that.

For all his outward reluctance and sham amateurism, typical in many respects of the vaunted new breed of anti-comedian, Epithemiou can lay claim to a couple of impressive set-pieces. His impressions are surprisingly good, even if his Nelson Mandela is both incongruous and disarmingly slick. What's more, despite confessing to an inability to banter, he's more than capable of responding to the audience with witty comebacks.

Angelos Epithemiou. Dan Skinner

Elsewhere, he borrows straight from Shooting Stars and Vic Reeves Big Night Out, from the impossible to answer quiz to his use of household objects to fashion bizarre props, notably his faithful dog on a stick Tinned Tomatoes. Or take the catchphrase "What's in the bag, Angelos?", sung back at him with enthusiasm by the crowd. Similarly his music desk, from which he offers a rendition of Chris Rea's Driving Home For Christmas, is plastered in Vic and Bob layers of junk but also redolent of Tom Binns' hospital radio DJ Ivan Brackenbury for the fluffed cues.

Still, if the tone of the show and the consistency of the Epithemiou character are all over the place, they tend to be endearingly, ridiculously so. Skinner can elicit laughs by creeping around in a silver bodysuit or simply by urging "don't muck about" in Angelos' flat, no-nonsense deadpan. The character is never going to find new depths, so just appreciate what can be wrung from this shambling, anorak-sporting weirdo in the moment.

The Garage, Glasgow, 16th December 2010

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