Just the Tonic at The Community Project (Venue 27)
Monday 7th August 16.30
One of the many joys of the Edinburgh festival is spotting talent at an early age. In 2010 we saw John Robertson (as part of the Free Festival) in "A Nifty History Of Evil" and he was hysterically funny (winning that year's DarkChat award for Best Free Show). What was so impressive was not so much his written material but his impromptu conversations with a drunken Sunday night audience, and we have followed him since.
In 2012 he first created The Dark Room, a free show for adults at The Hive. (Having just checked DarkChatter Phil's review from 5 years ago I could just save myself a lot of trouble and copy and paste irt here as it is still relevant).
Being a gentleman of a certain age the computer (and video) game craze has passed me by but as I was accompanied by two
8 year olds I was hopeful they would guide me through any tricky bits. ( Although it comes with an age recommendation of 11
plus we had checked ( being responsible adults) and was told would be fine, in fact a lot of the audience was under 11.
I half expected a disembodied face and computer graphics to control proceedings but now John Robertson himself bounded
on stage ( well the best he could with a dodgy knee having previously tallen off the stage) in an impressive Road Warior-esque
type costume. With an Ian McKellen booming type voice he proceeded to tell us how the show would work and we were off.
However, it seemed that a lot of the audience had seen the show before as they already knew a lot of the catchphrases.
For me the joy of the show was John's banter with the audience, children and adults alike. But, this is not sweet engaging with
children on their level, he has attitude, pausing at one stage to check with a grown-up if it was OK to swear at this 9 year-old
child. Oddly, enough it was!
Even though this was a kids show John knows the importance of including adults and for me the best part was the ridiculous prizes on offer (I assume John is a frequent visitor to Car Boot Sales & charity shops).
I must also take my hat off to Mr R's energy levels. Obviously, it is to every performer's financial benefit to appear in as many shows as possible but I was impressed that after this show ends at 5.30pm (and staying behind to talk to the audience) he rushes to The Stand for "Dominant " at 6.15 and then back to Underbelly for the adult Dark Room show. Wow, I feel worn out just typing that sentence.
When I compile the DarkChat spreadsheet there are always shows I look forward more than others. One of the joys of the festival is being proved wrong, Yesterday I loved "A Monk's Tale" and today it was "The Dark Room For Kids" which I enjoyed from beginning to end.
Great fun for all the family.
Reviews by 8 Year Olds
This was a show about choices when are locked in a dark room. There were 2 main characters John (the person who did the show), and the audience.
The audience has 1,2,3 or 4 choices to choose from to escape or ya die, ya die, ya die, ya die, YA DIE!!!!!!!!
We enjoyed the bit that the audience got to do the choosing. The best bit was when somebody chose "find light switch", John would say "But how will you find the light switch, you're in a dark room, you need the light to see!"
I would recommend it 8+ should see it.