Comedy in the Dark

By Ron Bingham

A very interesting concept, which can be brilliant or not, depending on how much the comedian relies on props, facial expressions, gestures or costume. The host of Comedy in the Dark is Mark Olver and it starts with the lights on (as are the transitions as it wouldn’t do to have the comedian fall off stage or get lost on the way from backstage). The guests today were Rob Rouse, Margaret Thatcher (and a picture of Winston Churchill) and John Kearns.

Mark did an excellent job as host, with some audience interaction, most notably with the lady who had 200 small (foot tall toy) cows and the Brooklyn couple who had to describe their wedding buffet for Mark to judge.

Rob Rouse had obviously done Comedy in the Dark before, as he came prepared with a chair and a backpack with a couple of surprise props. He started by removing his trousers (in the dark of course) and talking about chickens, children and marriage. I’d talk about the props he used (and the ones he pretended he might also have in his bag), but I think he could be a regular to this gig and it’s better to keep the surprise factor there.

Following Rob was Maggie (in full costume) and Winnie, which needed half of the invisible prop work described before the dialogue, which sort of spoiled it a bit. The last spot, John Kearns, played a character which seemed to rely on seeing him in his hillbilly costume to complete most of the jokes.

So, it’s a fascinating concept, but not one that will work for every comedian. It is very dark in there, but be warned the lights can come up unexpectedly. It’s also warm and comfortable, so sit down the back if you come in a bit tired. Well recommended to “see” at least once, and the guests change daily (on a board out the front of the venue).

Comedy in the Dark is on at Just the Tonic at The Community Project.
For Tickets and more information go to the Edinburgh Fringe Website: