John Robertson: The Dark Room

Review by Fred Fletch | 28 Aug 2013
  • John Robertson: The Dark Room

John Robertson may look like a police composite of a serial killer, but he is so God-damn adorable you'll easily forget he probably knows how to fit one hitchhiker into nine seperate Streethawk lunchboxes.
Wrapping creeping unease and wordless terror in a carpet of charm, wit and breathless style is the same principle as giving Ted Bundy an oversized lollipop or John Wayne Gacy a Tumblr account dedicated to kittens dressed as fruit. Wild, frantic and dressed like Tim Curry being sarcastic, he captivates the audience from the moment he takes stage. He makes the Underbelly his bitch, utilizing the lights, atmosphere and precisely zero-fuck. His stand-up is simply the foreplay for a game of passionate nostalgia, that doesn't let up until someone wins... or everyone dies.

But seriously. No one wins.

The Dark Room is utterly unique. It's hard to describe the magic and joyful surprises awaiting you within, without utterly scaring you off. Put it this way, if I recommended a movie on the basis of it being 2 hours of Andrew McCarthy ramming his dick into a clothing-dummy, would you really want to rent Mannequin?

If you answered "YES, I'd happily watch the star of Pretty in Pink fuck 120lbs of fibreglass," go see The Dark Room. If you answered "No, I'd rather not see the St Elmo's Fire heart-throb, ass-hammer a woman-shaped clothes horse," go see The Dark Room.

A healthy knowledge of 80s text adventures will go a long way. In many ways they are comparable to every relationship I've ever had; long periods of rewardless frustration, having your grammar bluntly corrected and a series of awkward, hope-filled pokings that leave everyone enraged. In The Dark Room John is your date, and it's going to take more than three piña coladas and complimenting his pretty hair to get to second base.

Knowing what you're getting into won't help. Not knowing will help you even less. Just like life, The Dark Room is cruel, funny, unfair, confusing and unwinnable, but none of that should stop you taking a screaming jog right into it. You will regret nothing.

Underbelly, until 25 Aug, 8.40pm, £10/£9