Writer/Performer: Elis James and John Robins
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Triumphantly stomping onto the stage to Queen’s Don’t Stop me now, Elis James and John Robins greet the crowd with a fist pump to the air. Almost immediately Robins falters, he has eaten five vegan meals today and has just awoken from a short nap. He apologies if this gig is going to be a weird one. James takes it all in his stride; picking up the slack is what close friends do for each other. With that said, the show begins.
Alone, Robins and James are very successful; Robins as an Edinburgh festival award-winning stand up (jointly won in 2107 with Hannah Gadsby) and James as a stand-up, actor and TV presenter. Together they have a vast cult following as presenters of a monster hit radio show on Radio X and the resultant podcast. Devoted followers of the show, known as Vibe Chasers, are in big number and out in force in the Brighton Komedia to watch an evening of funny readings from the comedy pairing.
The thrux of the show is two men, two chairs and a book, the book being The Holy Vible. The Vible, we are told is the A-Z of Vibe. Vibe appears to be anything James and Robins are obsessed, or at least, very enthusiastic about. The audience are taken on a jaunt around some of the tome to elucidate further.
The duo start at A, where James describes what A day in the life means to Robins and vice versa. John’s infatuation with snooker legend Ronnie O’Sullivan and Elis’ elongated breakfast cereal eating rituals are scrutinised, to loud laughter in the room. Whizzing by the letter E and onto a lovers guide via I – It’s only a body, more self-help tidbits come flying our way as the giggles continue. A long lament explores the sadness of pub crawls and the crowd rocks with laughter as James describes the big five culinary experiences of his beloved hometown, Carmarthen.
The juxtaposition of Robins’ self-aggrandising comedy persona and James’ loveable mischievious qualities (that James compares to being like a cheeky mum at a school party drinking wine for the first time in months) is a fabulously winning mix. It is in these interactions where Robins gently hectors and James amiably deflects, that the book tour truly shines. The anecdotes are fun, sometime surreal and confessional in nature and the writing has sparkle and irreverent charm.
The previously uninitiated leave the auditorium, non the wiser as to what vibe really is, but thankful to our two genial guides who curated a very funny evening.
Reviewed on 21st November 2018 | Image: Contributed