Will Preston

Tell us what’s in yer bag, yer bastaad!

by on Dec.15, 2010, under Review

There might be little chance of seeing another tour of Vic & Bob (That’s Reeves and Mortimer, if you will), but I think we might have the next best thing. If you’re a fan of the television show Shooting Stars (come on now, who isn’t?) then there is miniscule doubt that you won’t have caught the new score announcer, burger van owner Angelos Epithemiou. He started on the show a year back as a replacement for Johnny Vegas and I couldn’t stop looking and listening to him. His greasy schoolboy hair cut. The half mast trousers. The tie doubling up as a third velvet arm. He’s just plain weird. A kind of weird that constantly stumbles back and forth over the line that splits up ‘goofy and silly’ and ‘slow and possibly dangerous’. It’s what makes him so enthralling. The one question I ask myself before I saw him perform his comedy set in Bournemouth last weekend was ‘how can he stretch his bite sized material on Shooting Stars into an hour and a half set?’ Well he did it, but not without a lot of the material he’s done already.

The face of your typical burger van man

Although there were a few lines that were reused from Shooting Stars, but they needed to be said. The show started with a movie about Angelos’s life so far. He was born behind a Better Sounds shop and was convinved by his lifelong hero, Sidney Poitier, to open a burger van. Yep, it didn’t make sense, but was funny as hell. After the movie, out he came to Shaggy’s ‘Boombastic’ with a Sainsbury’s bag in tow. The first half consisted of him telling you what’s happening later in the show and talking to the audience. I say he talked to the audience; the audience spent a lot of time shouting random things at him. One chump from the back balcony bellowed “Who are ya!” like a retarded football fan. His response: “I’m Angelos, who are you”. After a couple of seconds of no reply, Angelos coolly uttered “silence…” and from then on, he had more support for everyone to settle down and let him get on. It was by this point that I realised how well that he keeps in character. Angelos is, of course, a character comedian played by comedy actor Renton Skinner, who has popped up in a few television shows here and there. Not once throughout the night did he break character or laugh.

Never without his carrier bag

We were also shown Angelos’s close friends and family through a slide show. All look worse than him. One particularly funny picture was that of his friend Kenny, a bald fat man with an unclean face and red eyes. Using these images, Angelos gives each person a hilarious back story. Kenny for example hasn’t blinked for three years. “Maybe something caught his eye” mutters Mr. Epithemiou. Brilliant. The whole night had me in stitches, but there was a niggling sense that not only is humour similar to Vic and Bob, it’s slightly borrowed in places. Getting the crowd to sing along to ‘What’s in yer bag, Angelos’ had a feeling all too similar to Vic Reeve’s ‘Spin the wheel of justice’. The way the whole night was set out as a variety show had a similar feel to Vic Reeves Big Night out, including the same piece of music used when Les hunted down a member of the audience. I started to wonder if Renton Skinner was a big Vic and Bob fan back in the day. Perhaps he is the latest thing from the fictional Reeves and Mortimer line of products. Even if he is borrowing a fair bit, it almost seems like he is paying homage to it in some places, rather than stealing. Depends which way you want to look at it really.

If you like what you saw in Shooting Stars and fancy a bit more, this is for you, but if you’re looking for something more normal in a stand up, try Michael MacIntyre or someone else equally dull and one dimensional. Acts like Angelos Epithemiou don’t come along too often, so bag him while you can. Or wait for the next series of Shooting Stars.

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