Ross Hepburn is a burst of energy, creating a show that takes you back to your childhood weirdness. Hepburn stands up for the outsider and establishes Beetlejuice as the ultimate role model we all over looked.
Banshee Labyrinth is the ideal venue for the gothic Tim Burton classic and with an opening voiceover urging the audience to ‘not pay him any attention and most of all don’t laugh’, the man himself bounds onto the stage. Kitted out in the iconic stripped black and white suit, Hepburn doesn’t feed off the energy of the crowd, he creates it. Like a tornado of vibrancy and passion, the audience is sucked in and can’t help but enjoy themselves. Hepburn is not afraid to involve the crowd, effectively reading their reactions and improvising around their response.
His persona is the true embodiment of Beetlejuice’s charisma but thankfully not his sleazy, gross side. Hepburn guides us through his childhood and how his hero’s confidence inspired him to become the man he is today. Stating ‘after all the doctors appointments, therapy sessions and changing schools… finally something made sense’.
Hepburn doesn’t shy away from the intimate and personal. He opens up about his difficulties as a child diagnosed with Autism. Not the ‘Rain Man kind’ and nothing like ‘Big Bang Theory’s Sheldon Cooper’ he assures us. Hepburn breaks down any preconceived notions of the condition, educating the audience that autism varies and can often differ from the stereotypical anti-social and timid.
Hepburn is neither of these things, he is loud, boisterous and dizzyingly fast paced. Somehow talking at the speed of light but you don’t miss a thing. There are no awkward pauses for laughs which can be quite gruelling and typical of stand up. This production moves quick and seamlessly through a variety of levels. The odd impression of parents, teachers and classmates are added to the mix, which are subtle and not over-done.
As the day of the particular performance I attended marked three years since Robin Williams’ death, Hepburn dedicated his set to the late comedian. He also performed an impressive impression of Williams’ beloved Disney character from Aladdin, singing ‘Friend like me’. Complete with a vibrant light sequence and dance moves, before ending the show with a rendition of Beetlejuice’s ‘Jump in the Line’.
Filled to the brim with 90’s childhood memories and pop cultures references, this hilarious and touching stand up is a must see!