EDINBURGH 2018 - BWW Review: JOHN ROBERTSON: SWEATY, SEXY PARTY PARTY, Just the Tonic at The Tron
Sheer anarchy is about the only way to describe John Robertson's latest stand-up effort. Sweaty, Sexy Party Party is a difficult show to summarise as, if there was a theme or set to it, it was quickly discarded in favour of riffing off of audience members to hilarious ends.
Luckily, the Australian comedian best known at the Fringe for the perennial cult hit The Dark Room proves just as effective a showman with the lights on.
Robertson is accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Dr Blue, a sage figure at the back of the stage, and the pair offer up several musical numbers - some planned, some improvised on whatever nonsense happened to crop up in the room - and this lets Robertson indulge a rock persona akin to Mick Jagger after several espressos.
In between, he jumps from idea to idea as he prowls around the stage, and frequently off it, commanding the entire space and quickly having the crowd eating out of his hand. One minute he is whipping an actuary, the next he's leading an impromptu gospel revival.
The slightest incident will have Robertson off on a tangent, in the manner of a cat spotting something new and shiny, but luckily his improv skills are more than a good match. As such, there is a good deal of audience interaction here, which is quite full on and often rather filthy (likewise the cheery ditties about anal fisting and the like). However, Robertson is a warm presence and it never comes across as truly mean-spirited, instead feeling weirdly empowering by the end.
None of it makes the slightest bit of sense, but it is utterly glorious. After a long hard day of Fringe-ing, this show is like a shot of Red Bull direct to the veins. Robertson acknowledged towards the end of the show that "we had ten songs planned, we've done one and a half", and nobody in the audience would have felt shortchanged by that, as the hilarious chaos keeps you laughing from the start all the way to the end.
Indeed, by the end of the hour, you would be quite justified in being convinced Robertson could make reading the phonebook funny - after all, he manages to do so while reading the ingredients of a tub of margarine.
Overall, it may not have had a unifying narrative, theme or script, but it was a comedic triumph nevertheless. Filthy, frenetic, and fantastically funny, John Robertson: Sweaty, Sexy Party Party will send you out into the night wondering what you've been a part of, but aching with laughter.
John Robertson: Sweaty, Sexy Party Party is at Just the Tonic at The Tron until 26 August (not 13).
Photo credit: Mark Dawson