The Darkness of Robins

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 Robins: The Darkness of Robins

john robins


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