City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

John Robins: Lift your Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven Review

By Gabriel Neil - Posted on 12 August 2011

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John Robins

In the blurb on his Edinburgh Fringe page, John Robins' show is described as "a show about stars, suitable for both dreamers and doubters alike." The positivity contained in that statement neatly encapsulates the feel of "Lift your Skinny Fists" - its an unashamedly feel-good performance. Robins's disarmingly camp manner is eminently likeable, and though his jokes are mostly pretty gentle, his humour has a nicely sharp undertone. Certainly, if you are looking for dark, edgy humour, this is not the show for you.

Robins' storytelling is very polished, with some nicely absurd touches and a kind of controlled frustration which provides some much needed suspense and colour in what might otherwise have been some rather bland material. His friendly positivity combined with his eloquent, measured lancashire voice and, on occasion, a cuttingly ironic wit. Robins is unafraid of taking part in ad hoc riffs based on audience interaction.

It's his manner with the audience which makes Robins' show a joy to watch - he gains the audience's trust extremely well and he manages to successfully interact with audience members without resorting to making fun of them. His enthusiasm and sheer positivity make him a very likeable performer. His comic instincts are well honed too - he delivers some brilliant punchlines and gets some big laughs in return.

Not all of Robins' material quite works as well as it should, but his childlike exuberance compensates for that, resulting in a very enjoyable show. Nothing much groundbreaking going on here in terms of material, but well-crafted jokes and a happy, positive attitude lead to a warm and good-humoured atmosphere. Certainly a show to consider.

Show Times: Till 28 Aug (not 11 and 17)

Ticket Prices: £9.00 (£8.00)

I couldn't detect any references to much music in his show, but I haven't listened to very much Godspeed You... so perhaps I may have missed something more obvious to fans.

I must point out that he's taken his show title from an acclaimed album by Montreal post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor, the sleeve of which he wears on the t-shirt in the accompanying photo.  Does he make any reference to this in his show?