John Robins: This Tornado Loves You
  • By Ed Barnes
  • |
  • 15th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★★

John Robins has written a show about love. He is aware it's been done before, as he makes very clear in his opening gags, but this is something different.

Robins himself is a master craftsman, delivering with practised ease jokes that are so well honed they force you to laugh before you've even worked out why they are funny.

He opens with a Stewart-Lee-style peek behind certain staples of comedy and he must be aware of the parallel, as he instantly launches into a tirade against the critical darling and Edinburgh favourite. This tirade, however, is so perfectly crafted, intelligently put and cynically hilarious that it is worthy of Lee himself – allowing Robins to hang him with his own rope.

Then begins the meat of the show. Over the next hour, Robins explores the workings of love – its hopefulness, disappointment and dysfunctionality all the way from first crush to marriage. It is more than just a exploration though, the idea of love is relentlessly and consistently examined without mercy – in both real life and fiction – until an answer to the problems can be found.

Robins himself is a master craftsman, delivering with practised ease jokes that are so well honed they force you to laugh before you've even worked out why they are funny. This, coupled with the consistent structure and occasional bursts of incredulous outrage, makes for a sublimely entertaining hour. For the most part the show is a love-letter to both his girlfriend and his best mate – the former for the dizzying highs and lows, and the latter for his reliability and utter comfort when everything else has long since faded. It is also a love-letter to love itself, a letter that simultaneously praises it in the highest regard and damns it to hell. It also contains possibly the slickest final line on the Fringe, but I won't ruin the surprise. Just go and see for yourself. 

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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Since you’re here…

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The Blurb

Following his critically acclaimed sell-out show in 2013, Robins is back! A show about love and happiness from last year’s ThreeWeeks Editors’ Award winner. Strap your minds in! As seen on Russell Howard's Good News (BBC3) and Live At The Comedy Store (Comedy Central). ‘Comedy in its rawest form: one man, one microphone, one fantastically funny show’ ***** (ThreeWeeks). ‘One of the most consistently pleasing hours on the fringe’ **** (Independent). ‘Fantastically entertaining’ **** (

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