You awake to find yourself in a dark room.
John Robertson, dressed in a fashion reminiscent of a kinky barbarian, yells at you in a booming voice, not unlike that of Scar from The Lion King, inviting you to choose one of four options displayed on a screen before you. Your decision will decide your fate. Either you will walk free of the dark room, £1000 richer. Or you will die.
The Dark Room is a live choose-your-own-adventure game that is quite unlike anything else you will ever experience in your life.
One by one, Robertson selects a victim and takes them through the labyrinthine mission that is finding a way out of the dark room. Attempting to head north, searching for a light switch without the use of any light by which to see and simply going straight to sleep are all possible choices.
The game is never the same twice. And if someone does happen to make some common choices, it really doesn’t matter because it’s still a whole new Darren making their decisions in a whole new way.
The Dark Room, in a word, is intoxicating. Whether you’ve been before or not, you will end the night roaring along with Robertson and everyone else familiar with the story as a new Darren is chosen and needs to be informed “YOU AWAKE TO FIND YOURSELF IN A DARK ROOM.”
Sooner or later, most – if not all – Darrens die.
For their time as a Darren, each victim is gifted a prize from Robertson’s frankly marvellous collection of weird shit. Maybe you’ll win a tin of beans. Maybe a puzzle that may or may not have all its original pieces. The member of the audience that makes the “greatest contribution to the show” – a wonderfully random and arbitrary decision – wins a flamboyant potato.
The Dark Room culminates with a joint effort at escape, in which everyone in the room screams their choice and Robertson takes whichever is yelled the loudest as the group consensus.
It is a stunning and addictive show. Seeing it once simply is not enough. It is the kind of show that breeds a cult. Not just a cult following, like other comedians on the fringe of what counts as entertainment. A genuine cult of spiky Darrens nursing their potatoes and chanting in unison at the next one.
We’re generally quite liberal with our compliments when it comes to talking about shows that we recommend. And we do mean them all.
But there is no way of properly describing just how much you need to see The Dark Room at some point. It is a singularly unique show with an infectious energy that never quite leaves you.
You can also play The Dark Room at home on your computer via Steam.