Words by Suzy Romer
John Robins has turned his soul-wrenching pain after a relationship breakup into a triumph of a show. He brings real energy to the stage right from the start and gaily carries the audience along with him as he plunges straight into the depths of post-relationship misery. And we laugh a lot. He has an eye for his own weaknesses which he converts into gales of laughter and while he may self-consciously complain about his ex’s annoying habits, ultimately he is always the butt of his own jokes.
The picture of a relationship slowly unfolds which shows two interesting people with similar dreams but such different personalities that they make each other suffer over the smallest issues. How much salt do we need in the recipe? Where should we keep the recharger? He reveals his own character traits and points of conflict with his ex through a staggering collection of tiny details from daily life that would push any relationship over the line. This major personal event is placed expertly into a much broader context of modern life. He presents a fantastic analysis of his own feelings about sex, alcohol, friends, shame, maturity and masculinity which provides a refreshing antidote to the relentless fake images in adverts, films and TV. And let us not forget the internet’s vapid valuation of 2016 as “the worst year ever”, which he neatly puts to rest with a few pithy observations and delivers with deadpan simplicity.
For all his suffering, John Robins has clearly come away from his last relationship with a great deal of wisdom. We can hope that his next relationship benefits from it but in the meantime, his comedy certainly has. His meticulous writing and seamless presentation combine to make a deeply satisfying show.
See John Robins: The Darkness of Robins at the Pleasance Courtyard at 18.40 throughout August
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