Interview: John Robertson, ‘Closing the Cabaret Tent is an honour’

John Robertson’s The Dark Room is the world’s only live-action, text-based adventure game. How do you play? The audience is trapped in a retro videogame with a sadistic end-of-level boss. Choose your options, survive the abuse simulator that is the improv comedy overlord John Robertson, and escape to win £1000 – or, be brutally murdered by the rest of the crowd!

John has performed The Dark Room to crowds of thousands at comedy and gaming festivals around the world including Insomnia Gaming Festival, London Film & ComicCon, Sci-Fi Weekender, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, FringeWorld Perth, Leeds International Festival and to millions online on his Twitch Partner channel. 

Now he takes the Dark Room to Glastonbury Festival – he tells us what it’s like be heading to Worth Farm.

Q&A with John Robertson

How does it feel to be taking The Dark Room to this year’s Glastonbury Festival?

I’m stoked! I spend a huge amount of my life in a weird leather costume covered with lights, so Glasto felt like the right place! And closing the Cabaret Tent on the Sunday is an honour. 

How do you think a festival audience will react to the show and will there be lots of Darrens in attendance? 

We’ll have a wild time. I love playing with armies of lovely, deeply strange people. There’ll be tonnes of Darrens! 

Is there a joy in taking on the role of an end-level boss?

There is! But explaining it would read like supplementary ejaculations from the Marquis de Sade, so let’s just say it’s good fun

You’re also returning to Edinburgh, what’s it like to be returning for the Fringe?

Wild! It’ll be The Dark Room’s 10th year up there! I think we crowdsurfed 16 people up at Edinburgh Fringe 2022, so this year we’ll improve on that score and maybe get around to telling a joke or two. We’ll see. 

Are there any other acts you’re looking forward to checking out across the weekend at Glastonbury?

Despite my tattoos and long hair, I have an eternal lust for acoustic folk, so you’ll find me applauding wildly at Richard Thompson and if Cat Stevens suddenly hears a loud Australian voice screaming, “PEACE TRAIN!”, my apologies, that’ll be me .

John Robertson’s The Dark Room is Glastonbury’s Cabaret tent on Sunday 25 June.