John's material for the night loosely fits to the theme of fantasy and expectations. He discusses “life in all its horror and beauty”, considering what it would be like if you fantasised about future sexual partners more realistically. He talks of the difficulty of your best friend being in a relationship, the need to pretend you don't notice if your girlfriend is on her period, and the things doctors cruelly make you give up when you come down with 18th Century diseases.
At one point, John tells us that his life is going very well and that this is extremely unhelpful for his comedy career. Ideally, he says, his girlfriend would have carked it about mid-Feb to give him a moving ending to his Edinburgh show. While I do not want anything bad to happen to John's partner, I have to admit that I did think Robins's show would benefit from going deeper. According to the Classic's website, this is a ‘best-of' show from Robins's past six years. What is sacrificed in a ‘best-of' show is an overarching theme or message, which might have brought some of depth to the hour of entertaining comedy.
Robins is a master of telling plausible stories about his life that he embellishes until he has squeezed out all the funny. His self-deprecation covered by a false machismo is always hilarious, and his jokes are often artfully crafted turns of phrase. Robins is a skilled observational comic, and he has been for years now. I am excited at the possibility of seeing him tackle more challenging issues in the years to come.
Robins draws decent crowds in the UK after numerous solo shows at the Edinburgh Festival, consistently good reviews, and performances on radio and television (including the popular Russell Howard's Good News). This is his first time performing in New Zealand, and after proving himself to be one of the best acts in both The Big Show and the Classic – Late & Live, his solo show does not disappoint.
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