You awaken to find yourself in a dark room: so begins John Robertson’s interactive comedy hour of live text-based gaming that is so much more fun than it sounds.
Returning to the Fringe after his free show last year, this bundle of energy burst onstage in a corset and leather trousers, warming up the crowd with his delightfully strange take on the childhoods of different decades, delivering jokes with a snappy and original style and engaging the audience at every opportunity. His quick wit and untamable excitement meant that his short introduction felt like it was catered just for us; his improv skills are clearly excellent. We were roaring with laughter within minutes and completely comfortable with this hilariously weird comedian.
As we began the game, the room buzzed with anticipation, none of us quite sure how it would play out. Robertson moved around the room, only a small light illuminating his animated face, to choose the first audience member to play the game. There was the perfect amount of tension, since Robertson is no fool; he chooses participants who want to play, fully aware that a comfortable audience is a receptive audience. For all you introverts out there, do not be afraid. You can happily enjoy this show without being picked on but if you want to beat The Dark Room, you’ll have to pluck up your courage and play.
With an element of absolute wonderment, his booming voice and ‘floating’ illuminated head, Robertson made the perfect host, packing in observations and jokes as the game progressed. Mocking the audience members intelligently and carefully and treading the line like a master tightrope walker, his cheeky delivery let him get away with some wonderful tongue-in-cheek jibes. He clearly takes pleasure in performing this show and with his Tim Curry laugh and demonic, audacious expressions, he had us all enjoying it too.
I am loath to give any more away, so all I will add is that with his perfect stage persona, brilliant audience interaction, intelligent jokes and innovative ideas, this utterly ingenious show is the height of cool and will have you crying with laughter from the moment you walk in the room to the minute you escape The Dark Room…if you can.