Our weekly round up of this week's biggest new tours, shows and events.
John Robins will be bringing his atypical blend of stand-up comedy to the masses early next year. His aptly titled The Darkness of Robins, a candid view into the breakdown of a longterm relationship, celebrated critical acclaim at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, in part due to its downbeat content and subtle humour.
Robins delivers the show with such accuracy and hilarity, full of yelling and laughter, as he tries to take control of his current situation by rationalising the pathetic positives of post-relationship life. The darkness is lightened as he doesn’t linger on the tormenting truths too long, but instead highlights the amusement in each.
“On the one hand it’s a show about not being able to escape yourself,” Robins explains. “A relationship I was in ended and I found myself with only my own thoughts and flaws for company, and all the horror that entailed. During that period the only thing that stopped me falling apart was the more angry I got with myself, or the more pain I felt, the more I would eventually laugh.
“I guess it’s a show about a man who hates himself but can’t stop laughing at that. I find a lot of Pyrrhic victories in a year where my life was a bit of a car crash and that’s a really fun area for comedy.”
The unusual source material, his now well-documented breakup with Sara Pascoe, has led to critical acclaim. Robins shared the Edinburgh Comedy Award with Hannah Gadsby, the first time the award was split, for his part-hilarious, part-heavy hitting account. Critics remarked on his new take on comedy; poignant, moving and funny.
Watch our conversation with John Robins at Edinburgh Festival Fringe below:
Now John Robins is gearing up for his headline UK tour. He tells of necessary admin; booking hotels, planning travel, and “pointing out to my agent that a Brighton to Carlisle commute is not physically possible”.
He’s also using the time to adapt the show.
“Because there’s a bit of a gap between performing the show in Edinburgh and taking it on tour, I get to add bits in, write new sections, think of ways to improve it. But I’m also having a little time to write on other projects, go away, stare at a wall, so when I come to tour it’ll be like rediscovering the show all over again, and that’s really exciting.”
The tour will see him head to the iconic Hammersmith Apollo for a headline show on the 26 April 2018. The significance is not lost on Robins, who recently recorded a Live at the Apollo set for the BBC.
“That show has such a great history of acts, to even be considered in the same world as them, let alone performing alongside them, was a huge moment for me,” he notes.
“It’s by far the largest venue I’ve ever played, so putting on a show worthy of the room, but also maintaining the intimate moments of the show is a challenge I’m really looking forward to. I also associate Hammersmith and the venue with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson, and the sitcom Bottom, which played a massive part in making comedy, and laughter, such a big part of my life. I will definitely be thinking about Ritchie and Eddie when I’m sat in the dressing room.”
It’s not just Bottom though. John Robins also associates the legendary Queen with the venue.
“On Christmas Eve 1975, Queen played The Hammersmith Apollo on the final date of their tour. I think even they knew that twenty three years later their biggest fan would recreate that feat. In every room I will hear Mercury’s echo, May’s sustain, the crash of Taylor’s cymbal, and John Deacon’s blushing laugh. In summary: IT’S INSANE!
“It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly, and was dependent on securing the services of a serviceable Welsh support act. But I really hope it’s an event I’ll remember for the rest of my life, and that the audience will feel part of something special.”
John Robins brings The Darkness of Robins to venues across the UK from the 25 January 2018. Catch him on the following dates:
25 January 2018 – Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa
26 January 2018 – City Varieties Music Hall, Leeds
27 January 2018 – Royal and Derngate, Northampton
7 February 2018 – Komedia, Brighton
8 February 2018 – The Platform, Lincoln
10 February 2018 – Redgrave Theatre, Bristol
11 February 2018 – Glee Club, Oxford
13 February 2018 – Electric Palace, Dorset
15 February 2018 – The Y Theatre, Leicester
16 February 2018 – Old Fire Station, Carlisle
17 February 2018 – Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven
18 February 2018 – The Stand Comedy Club, Edinburgh
19 February 2018 – The Stand Comedy Club, Glasgow
20 February 2018 – The Stand Comedy Club, Newcastle
21 February 2018 – Memorial Hall, Sheffield
23 February 2018 – Arts Centre, Swindon
25 February 2018 – The Lowry, Salford Quays
27 February 2018 – Arts Centre, Norwich
28 February 2018 – West End Centre, Hampshire
2 March 2018 – The Rondo Theatre, Bath
3 March 2018 – The Rondo Theatre, Bath
4 March 2018 – Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
6 March 2018 – Phoenix, Exeter
10 March 2018 – Junction, Cambridge
11 March 2018 – The Lowry, Salford Quays
14 March 2018 – Leicester Square Theatre, London
15 March 2018 – Leicester Square Theatre, London
16 March 2018 – Leicester Square Theatre, London
17 March 2018 – Leicester Square Theatre, London
18 March 2018 – Glee Club, Cardiff
21 March 2018 – Glee Club, Birmingham
22 March 2018 – Glee Club, Nottingham
23 March 2018 – Derby Theatre, Derby
28 March 2018 – Junction, Cambridge
29 March 2018 – ARC Stockton Arts Centre, Stockton on Tees
30 March 2018 – Gala Theatre, Durham
31 March 2018 – The Stables, Milton Keynes
3 April 2018 – Playhouse Theatre, Norwich
11 April 2018 – Cheese and Grain, Frome
13 April 2018 – Melton Theatre, Leicestershire
17 April 2018 – Komedia, Brighton
24 April 2018 – Playhouse, Nottingham
26 April 2018 – Hammersmith Apollo, London
John Robins tickets are available now through Ticketmaster.co.uk.