Bullied Steve heads to UK to make us root for Underdog

HE may be a former kick-boxing champion and once the youngest stunt performer in the UK, but the effects of school bullying still remain for Steve Spiro.

Now, a well-versed writer, actor and producer, Steve has enjoyed quite the journey, moving from the residential streets of Gants Hill, east London, to the bright lights of Los Angeles when he was just 23.

And yet, even today, memories of bullying and the antisemitism he faced in the UK flash back to him.

“The last time I was asked about whether I suffered with antisemitism I kind of said no at the time, but it was only afterwards that I realised that wasn’t the case,” he told me.

“There was one night I was chased by some skinheads, but on a more personal level, there was a kid who lived down the road from me whose mum would not let him walk to school with me because I was Jewish and she didn’t like Jews.

“It was the same story with a girl called Belinda whose mum would not let her date me, but there were also cases of abuse outside our synagogue with people screaming antisemitic slurs.

“These were all examples of things that have popped up in recent years, so they still have an effect today.”

Steve will be travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month to perform UK Underdog, a one-man-show about his tough Essex upbringing in the 1980s, being the only Jew in class.

Recreating his adolescence through his experience with bullying and life in a virulently racist Britain, as well as the mundanity and eccentricity of family life and burgeoning sexuality, Steve explores the relentless daily struggles.

That is until he snaps, and fights back.

“I must have been about 20 and I was doing a lot of stunt training as well as kickboxing and one night I was sent home from the boys’ club I trained at,” he recalled.

“I was driving home and I made a turn too soon and didn’t see another car there, but I managed to get in front and he started beeping at me and literally chasing me along the road.

“I held my hands up to say sorry and I was really suffering from tiredness, but eventually he just opened his window and was going on and on.

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