When you ask your daughter to recount her favourite moments of the Edinburgh Fringe, and she turns to you and chants “You die! You die! You die!”. It’s moments like these you know giving her free will over the Fringe programme was a good idea. Yes, we have experienced John Robertson’s The Dark Room (For Kids!).
Based on the format which has been successful at the Fringe for many years, it felt unlikely anyone from our kids edition would be making it out alive. Welcomed into a dark room, John Robertson takes on the appearance of Thor and Skeletor combined. The Dark Room (For Kids!) is advertised for children 11+, so it is evident from the outset the parents aren’t playing by the rules. Our host makes no allowances for this, ascertaining parents don’t mind bad language directed at children, “Bullshit” is frequently shouted at kids making the wrong choices.
The premise is that we do need to make it out alive. Stuck inside a live-action video game, kids are given the chance to see how far they can progress. I’d like to think we chose a particularly bad day to be there. It’s fair to say no child stood any chance of escape. I’m not sure we actually got passed stage 2 of the 21 steps it takes to succeed. And so, in doing so the ability of Robertson to keep his patience added to the comedy which can only be incurred when children are given the chance to play a role.
Seren got involved pretty early on. Obviously given the name Darren she didn’t make it far. But, oh how proud she was to have everyone chanting at her. Whilst there is no doubting the fun associated with the concept, I like to think bringing in an audience of kids adds to the mayhem. I can’t actually equate why anyone would want to bring a successful format for adults and swap it for children, but that’s me, I concluded it was a sign of genius on Robertson’s part.
Our final attempt brought even more merriment as collectively we decided to kill Hope, Faith and Charity. Oh for the joy of mob rule. So, I’m obviously tempted to revisit just to find out what actually happens as you progress through the game.
The Dark Room (For Kids!) is at the Gilded Balloon Teviot as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. You can catch the show at 1730 until Sunday 26th August.
Disclosure: We have media accreditation for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. All views and opinions contained are our own.