John Robertson

Edfest Bouquets 2017


It was another fantastic three weeks at the Fringe for us. We crammed in as many shows as we possibly could – and still barely managed to scratch the surface. Here’s our pick of the best we saw this year. Congratulations to everyone mentioned.


Seagulls – Volcano Theatre

Peer Gynt – Gruffdog Theatre

The Power Behind the Crone – Alison Skilbeck

Safe Place – Clara Glynn

Pike Street – Nilaja Sun



The Darkness of Robins – John Robins

Kinabalu – Phil Wang

Dominant – John Robertson

Mistress & Misfit – Shappi Khorsandi

Oh Frig, I’m 50! – Richard Herring


Story Telling

One Seventeen – Sarah Kendall

These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone – Will Greenway

The Man on the Moor – Max Dickins

Eggsistentialism – Joanne Ryan

Blank Tiles – Dylan Cole


Special Mentions

The Toxic Avenger: The Musical – Aria Entertainment & Flying Music

Up Close – Chris Dugdale

The Cat Man Curse – Pelican Theatre

Cathy – Cardboard Citizen Theatre

Well Meaning, but Right Leaning – Geoff Norcott

John Robertson – Dominant


The Stand 5, Edinburgh

John Robertson is, as ever, in no mood to take any prisoners. After a noisy rock-star intro, the antipodean raconteur bounds onto the stage and starts to lay into us, his beloved audience, tearing us to pieces with a string of savage observations. He tells us he has ‘too much confidence’ and even predicts exactly how the show is going to end. If we think he’s exaggerating for comic effect, we’re wrong. It happens exactly as he describes it and I have to say, it’s probably one of the most bizarre conclusions to any show I’ve seen in Edinburgh. And trust me, I’ve seen a lot.

Robertson is a regular fixture on the Fringe, both with his stand up routines and his interactive Dark Room role-playing game. (This year, he’s even doing a kids’ version of the latter, but don’t be fooled into thinking that means he’s generally appropriate for children – he’s most definitely not!) Tonight’s scattershot barrage of stories touches on all manner of subjects: his sexuality; the shortcomings of the room in which he’s performing (he describes it as a partially-filled broom closet); the strange mannerisms of the people who’ve turned out to see him; the fact that the woman from whom he’s just stolen a drink might have given him herpes; the news that the pet dog, whose death provided the inspiration for last year’s routine, isn’t actually dead because… well, you’ll have to see the show to find out about that.

It’s all (apparently) improvised – he proudly claims to never do the same routine twice – and, unless you’re very prudish, you will laugh yourself silly. You’ll also marvel at the man’s chutzpah, his invention, his intelligence and yes, his courage, because this is genuinely challenging stuff, much more so than what generally passes for ‘edgy’ material – mostly, I believe, because all of his excesses are anchored in some kind of reality.

In many ways, I think Robertson exemplifies the true spirit of the Fringe. When they come to hand out this year’s award, somebody should give him proper consideration, though I suspect he’s thought of as way too dangerous for that to ever happen.

Nevertheless, this show represents Robertson at the top of his game and, if you decide to pass him up for a bigger, safer bet, well, you’ll only have yourself to blame. You’ll be missing one of the best shows at the Fringe.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

Edfest Bouquets 2016




It’s been another amazing August for us at Bouquets & Brickbats. We’re exhausted after a month of non-stop theatre and comedy! We have seen some absolutely fantastic stuff, covering a huge range of ideas. Here’s our pick of the best we’ve seen at this year’s Fringe:

Drama Bouquets

  1. Neontopia / Wales Millennium Centre – A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders
  2. Aurora Nova – The Blind Date Project by Bojana Novakovic
  3. Rainbow Class by Vivienne Acheampong
  4. Gaggle Babble / National Theatre Wales – Wonderman by Daf James
  5. Something for the Weekend – Royal Vauxhall by Desmond O’Connor

Monologue Bouquets

  1. NJC Productions – The Way the City Ate the Stars by Will Greenway
  2. George Dillon – Stunning the Punters (& Other Stories) by Berkoff, Sproat and Dostoevsky
  3. Lorenzo Novani – Cracked Tiles by Lorenzo Novani
  4. Impi Theatre Company – The South Afreakins by Robyn Paterson
  5. Berk’s Nest – Vaudeville by Tom Neenan

Stand-up Comedy Bouquets

  1. Bridget Christie – Mortal
  2. Sarah Kendall – Shaken 
  3. Loyiso Gola – Dude, Where’s My Lion?
  4. Garrett Millerick – The Dreams Stuff is Made Of
  5. John Robertson – Arena Spectacular

‘Ones to Watch Out For’ Bouquets

  1. Phosporos Theatre – Dear Home Office
  2. Chris Dugdale – Full Circle
  3. Flabbergast Theatre – Tatterdemalion
  4. Teateri – Evil by Jesper Arin
  5. Amy Howerska – Smashcat