Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Two Floors and The Dark Room, 12th May

All together now 'You awake! And find yourself in a DARK ROOM!' How do you get out? Well, I don't bloody know and I sat through about 12 different people trying. So far, out of all the shows he's ever done, only TWO people have managed to escape this mysterious Dark Room guided, or should I say taunted, by the floating head of John Robertson...

After some introductory laughs (John Robertson is a standup of sorts) and explaining (kind of) where the show gets its inspiration and what is about to happen, the lights go off and John dons what looks like a pared down version of a Ghostbusters pack. Only (or, well, mainly) his head is illuminated and thus begins your adventure simulating one of those choose your own adventure type 80s video games. The rules are strict - you must say the color and word of the route your wish to take, or you get told off and ridiculed by the floating head. And beware... most routes lead to... Well, a not very happy ending.

It's a weird, twisted and above all funny ride as John randomly picks people from the audience to try their luck in the Dark Room. There seems to be no real rhyme or reason to what happens in this room, except that John thought it funny to put it in there.

The only frustration with the show comes from being powerless while other people make all the decisions, unless of course you're picked on to guide the group. Most of the time the participants in the show I went to see ended up going down almost exactly the same route as someone who had just played, which is annoying as obviously you want to see as many of the different outcomes as possible, even if they all (seemingly) end up with the same result. Luckily there is a round built in to stem this frustration... The Dark Room seems to have a bit of a cult following among some who come again and again in the hopes of figuring out John's twisted mind and getting out into the light. In one round, one of these gets to have a go and show us all how it's done. No, they too end up ... well, in a not very happy ending... but it opens up a whole new range of possibilities that the audience can then take advantage of in the next round... The crowdsourced round.

This one relies on popular opinion - the audience decides as on which choices to take but not by voting per se - just by everyone shouting for the option they want and John trying to determine which is the most popular. Those who have been paying close attention in the previous round try to replicate that to get us as far as possible. I think when I went we managed maybe 12 in a row before we ended up... well, not in a very happy ending.

Every participant wins a prize - a prize you would never want, but a prize none the less.
John Robertson is a funny, Aussie, not afraid to goad his audience, who keeps the whole thing ticking along at a fast pace. I don't want to go into too much detail as discovering how it works and what it is all about is half the fun. You should go and see for yourself.

Two Floors

Just before we went over to Gem Bar for the Dark Room we had a couple of drinks in Two Floors off Kingly Street. It was a dark and rainy day and Two Floors wasn't at all what I'd imagined. It has a tiki bar so I was picturing kitsch and colourful, but actually it's quite a cool, kinda dark, laid back bar. The tiki bar is downstairs and I don't think it was open when we went so I have that yet to explore. This is a good place if you don't quite fancy a pub, but also don't want a tacky, overpriced Soho bar.


Square Meal

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.