The Dark Room (For Kids!)
- Thom Dibdin
- 9 August 2019
This article is from 2019
John Robertson adapts his shouty comedy show for over 11s
There is a wonderfully low-tech kick to John Robertson's design for his interactive comedy games show, which puts the audience in a dark room, looking for the light switch to get out. Contestants make choices with the promises of £1000 if they escape – and a truly awful prize (a cassette of Aussie pan pipes anyone?) if they don't, as the whole audience scream 'Die! Die! Die!'.
An Xbox console taped to his chest and hand-held torch provide the tech, while his outfit seems to be channelling Riff Raff in the Rocky Horror transformation scene. Which is as wildly inappropriate a reference as Robertson's attitude – 'leave your hands up if you mind if I swear at your kids', he shouts at the parents. None do, and he does.
The game itself becomes immaterial as the hour rattles past. Robertson pitches it perfectly, repeating himself precisely when a choice is made for the umpteenth time, but adding a sardonically caustic aside. With plenty of room for genuine spontaneity – and, despite the dark – he has a canny ability to pitch his retorts at a level the participants can take. Except, perhaps, the man texting in the back row who had his phone confiscated and given away as a prize.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 24 Aug, 5.30pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9).