What a pleasure it is to be in John Robertson’s abstract gothic company. As his sublime live action computer game show The Dark Room would suggest, Arena Spectacular! is a tour de force of energy, wit, invention and unparalleled crowd work.

It’s partly improvised, like a controlled Ross Noble. He sets out a genuinely alternative stall with structured material about topics such as the logistics of sex dungeons. After a while, even the most bizarre of comments wash over you like whispers from an Antipodean Imp of the Perverse.

It’s the furthest thing from an area show possible, instead, it’s a deconstruction of dull comedy troupes and easy hackery. After two darker shows dealing with the suicides of loved ones, this year feels like a release. Up for the Amused Moose Comedy award, Robertson deserves every accolade that comes his way.

Words: Tom Crosby

John Robertson: Arena Spectacular!, The Stand, Aug 4-27, 3:40pm

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