REVIEW: THE DARK ROOM (Udderbelly Festival)


“You awake to find yourself in a dark room!”

Throughout the show, this line echoes several times around the festival tent, 400 voices chanting in unison. The show is led by our gaming M.C. John Robertson, decked out in lights, buttons and spiked shoulder pads, and we are well taken care of. Robertson is charismatic and hilarious, and his quick wit and charm are what make the show. He is electric on stage (and not just because of all the wires he’s connected to) and although he appears very comfortable within the show, it is far from stale. He cleverly alters the script to include humor tailored to the audience of the night (the jokes about the English’s love of puns were very well received), yet that isn’t where the personalisation of the show stops. With each “Darren” (his name for every audience member chosen to play “The Dark Room”), his quick comedy is tailored for each player, and this is what made the show feel so exciting and alive.

The concept is very clever, taking a room full of people into a virtual reality of a text-based adventure game, in a ‘choose your own ending’ style. While only a few audience members were actually chosen to be “Darren”, Robertson is careful not to isolate just them and keeps the audience not just engaged, but also involved in the game. We are encouraged to shout along with him, heckle and comment and this created a fantastic atmosphere, which the show really needs to succeed, and thus it did.

It is unlike anything I have ever seen before and is a really great evening of comedy for gamers and non-gamers alike.

Reviewed by Kara Taylor Alberts (@karaalberts)