Victor Patrascan: The Trouble With Being Born Romanian
- Murray Robertson
- 24 August 2018
This article is from 2018
A barrier-breaking gig with the occasional misstep
Comedian Victor Patrascan wants to break down the barriers between us and accept that there is no race but the human race. In The Trouble With Being Born Romanian, he explains that he's only considered 'Romanian' in Edinburgh whereas in his homeland he's just 'a guy', while in London he's erroneously labelled as 'Polish'. None of these designations mean anything to Patrascan, who just wants to get along with his fellow citizens.
Filtering the absurdity of racism through astute observations and anecdotes, he's an engaging comedian with some nicely drawn analogies. He often comes across as over-earnest which actually makes his material funnier, and he softens many of his gags with a cheeky smile, a ploy he uses to gain approval when his stories occasionally venture into edgier territory. Patrascan says he learned English late in his relatively young life and is still trying to understand its various complexities, but he has a firm grasp of vernacular and vividly demonstrates how the language's myriad rules both fascinate and bewilder him.
He also brings an interesting international perspective to political matters such as Brexit, Trump and Tommy Robinson, who he skewers with a crowd-pleasing punchline. Not everything hits the mark, particularly a joke about Madeleine McCann that's a decade late and set in the wrong country. Its uneasy reception suggests he's testing the goodwill of the crowd. 'You took a chance on a Romanian speaking broken English,' he says, delighted at the respectable crowd who've gathered to see him. With such a strong command of his material (and his secondary language) it seems the gamble paid off.
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