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John Robins: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

John Robins deserves more success. There's only so many times you can be called a ‘best-kept secret’ – and with this show he's determined to have the beans spilled.

Opening with jokes on the thought of playing to a crowd of two and his paltry marketing budget, it's clear everything about Robins is funny. He has the look and feel of the nicest guy in town and has a way with words that makes anything sound funny.

A fan of cheeky and camp comedy, he takes the innuendo ‘never heard it called that before’ to hitherto unseen heights, with each appearance in the set topping the last.

It's an impassioned set formed mainly of uproarious stories ranging from being naked on stage to accidentally drinking pee. Each is delivered with energy and charm with killer lines never more than a minute away.

Robins is a wordsmith, often delivering belly laughs through phrasing alone, and conjuring side-splitting turns of phrase as he regales his self-deprecatory tales of silliness and alcohol abuse.

Hilarious stories aside, Robins is naturally funny but falls down trying to adopt a ‘geek chic’ persona. He's too energetic and natural to realistically come across as that awkward and it feels too much like pandering to the wrong crowd.

There's also not much to tie everything together. There is a thread about him getting selected for panel show but dropped because he didn’t have an interesting enough of a back story. You feel his pain being replaced by Amy Childs from The Only Way is Essex, but a centrepiece it ain't and, indignation aside, it felt lacking.

There are, indeed, some truly incredible scenes featured, but others felt more B-movie. Robins's talent is indisputable, but it feels underused and unnecessarily limited to funny stories. If he can find a way to channel it to something more personal, they'll be queueing up to sing his praises.

Review date: 26 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Caves

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