John Robins – The Darkness of John Robins

John Robins – The Stand, Edinburgh

I got to see Robins’ ‘The Darkness of John Robins’ on a recent trip to Edinburgh. I hadn’t realised how much I’d been missing that city until I got back, it feels so much like home. It’s just so pretty and warm (figuratively, obvs not temperature wise). It was nice being back at The Stand too, it’s such a great venue and always gets incredible acts in. Monkey Barrel Comedy Club is also great, just didn’t get chance to go this trip. I came away having had a lovely time and with an ill-advised home-made tattoo (it’s not an E for Edinburgh btw).

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This is the second time I’ve seen ‘The Darkness of John Robins’ and it’s just as good as it was at the Fringe. He’s now added in a fun section relating to Celebrity Mastermind (he was a contestant this year). He can make just about anything funny and seems to be as comfortable off the cuff as he is in the more planned sections of the evening. I reviewed this show for ReviewsHUB over the festival, under the pseudonym Faye Hadley (I’m not stealing I promise! Unless it counts as plagiarism even if you wrote it, in which case, yes guilty as charged). What I wrote then still stands, so:

‘Break ups are never easy. They are however fertile ground for creativity, which John Robins mines with aplomb. His latest show deals with the aftermath of his ‘flatmate’ leaving him and is consistently laugh out loud funny.

Given their fame, most of the audience are aware that the break-up in question is Robins and former flame Sara Pascoe. While the show is certainly personal, those looking for salacious comedy gossip will be disappointed. Robins appears to have turned his pain and anger in on himself, with most of the material focussing on his coping mechanisms. Delivering on the show title’s promise of darkness, he is able to gain laughs without coming off as self-indulgent. The audience is introduced to some of his difficulties but he never invites pity.

It is a very well developed and mature hour of comedy. Robins is full of energy throughout, easily switching tone to marry the emotionally hard-hitting and the ridiculous. Most of what Robins discusses is influenced by his break up but there is far more to the show than that. The startlingly honest introspection is both relatable and funny. The finale in particular stands out, an homage to building society adverts which is incredibly moving and delivers a perfect punch line.

A near perfect hour that takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster, proving that something great can come out of heartbreak. Stellar choices of entrance and exit music too. A must see.’

It’s still good. If anything, it’s got better as he’s relaxed into it more. If it’s touring near you and not sold out, get yourself a ticket.

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