John Robins: The Darkness of Robins

john robins

13/08/17

Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

John Robins’ opinion of ‘small weird websites’ reviewing comedy is well-documented, but here at Bouquets & Brickbats we don’t take such things personally. We were most impressed with his Live from the BBC gig,  and, as loyal retro-one-er PCDs, we’re more than keen to see his Edinburgh show. It doesn’t disappoint.

It’s not an easy hour. The Darkness of Robins is a raw and painful piece, detailing the fallout from the recent break-up of his relationship with fellow comic, Sara Pascoe. It’s heart-rending. To his credit, Robins never comes across as bitter; this is clearly not about revenge. Instead, it’s a searingly honest account of loneliness and desperation, a howl into the void. And yet, somehow, it’s funny too.

Robins has real presence and charisma; he owns the room. Even as he tells us that he doesn’t like people (doesn’t like crowds, doesn’t want more friends), he’s making us warm to him, drawing us in. And the subject matter is one we can all relate to (or most of us, at any rate): heartbreak is a familiar theme. But it’s rare to hear anyone articulate with such naked precision just how fucking awful and debilitating it can be.

I love this show. It makes me sad, but I love it anyway.

5 stars

Susan Singfield

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