​John Robertson: The Dark Room

You awake to find yourself in a Dark Room!

​John Robertson: The Dark Room

These words will be heard a lot over the course of the next hour as members of the audience, and eventually the whole audience, will attempt to navigate their way out of the Dark Room. Your name, for reference, is now Darren.

Harking back to the era of text based adventure games (the good and the frustratingly annoying) The Dark Room will prove to be mercilessly cruel, taking no pity, no prisoners, and no bulls**t. If you take too long, Robertson will tear you apart. You keep making the same mistake again and again, Robertson will tear you apart. You try to outdo him, move, or otherwise engage in any way, expect Robertson to tear you apart. Basically, our S&M styled game narrator can and will very easily ridicule you, and incite peer pressure style mocking – the best kind!

I arrived slightly late to the show, and walked in to find the dark room already spawning a very cultish atmosphere. This was not improved by everybody chanting at once "You awake to find yourself in a Dark Room!" It was evident that there were some who had seen the show before, already au fait the niche 'in' jokes. The crowd, when not desperately trying to avoid eye contact so as to try and prevent Robertson from picking on them, were absolutely absorbed with the spectacle in front of them, and rightly so.

There was so much to love about this show. I am a huge Robertson fan anyway, his comedy is incredibly raw, dark, and sarcastic. The Dark Room combines the humour of Robertson with a genuine love and passion for video games, which to me is a winning formula.

Given how the show is an homage to retro gaming, it could be considered oxymoronic to describe the show as innovative, but to me it genuinely is. I've been at the Fringe for four years now, and I've never experienced a show as surreal, sarcastic, interactive, nerdy and hilarious as this.

I think I may have been too harsh on Robertson by denying him five stars on his last review, I won't make the same mistake again. An absolutely hilarious hour of entertainment, rammed full of gaming jokes, sarcastic humour, and all the frustration suppressed from the early text-based adventure games.

* * * * *

John Robertson: The Dark Room is performing at the Underbelly, Cowgate at 20:30. Tickets and more information are available from the EdFringe website.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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