John Robertson: The Dark Room (2016)



Underbelly, Cowgate, Edinburgh

We hardly ever go back to see the same show again, but in John Robertson’s case we made an exception (and besides, this show is different every time). Incredibly, he’s been hosting this weird text-based adventure game in the same location every August for five years. But clearly his fame is spreading. On this rainy Edinburgh night, the dark dinghy ‘White Belly’ room is packed with fans and it soon becomes apparent that a lot of them are return bookings. Some might say they’ve simply been lured by the prospect of winning the £1000.00 prize money. A couple of people have actually won it but really, winning is hardly the point. The pleasure to be had here comes from the interplay between the insanely potty-mouthed Robertson and his luckless victims (AKA the audience).

He strides on in his leathers and fairy lights and proceeds to take the place apart. Pretty soon he has the whole place roaring along with him and he seems to feed on the energy of the crowd, becoming ever more manic, ever more animated. Between this and his ‘Arena Tour’ standup show, it’s been a great year for Robertson at the Fringe. Go along to the Dark Room if you’re up for a good laugh, because that’s exactly what you’ll get. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen as a contender, he will pick on you, he’ll sneer at you and he’ll even call you Darren. What’s not to like?

4.8 stars

Philip Caveney


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