Writer: John Robins
Reviewer: Faye Hadley
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. There are times where he appears to become distracted or lose his footing but it never detrimentally affects the show. In fact, it results in some successful off the cuff riffing.
A near perfect hour that takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster, proving that something great can come out of heartbreak. Robins is at the height of his powers and a few minor slip ups were not enough to lessen the show’s impact. Stellar choices of entrance and exit music too. A must see.
Runs until 27 August 2017 | Image: Contributed