In the frenzy that is the Fringe, Rob Auton’s shows are famously chilled affairs. Like some sort of tousled-haired audience-whisperer, the gentle Yorkshireman has the knack of making you relax. Making you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
It’s an impressive superpower, especially given that it now seems to be subliminal. Scanning the room before the start, I spot a man fast asleep in the front row. Ambling onstage, Rob clocks him too. It’s all good though. More than good, in fact. It’s a gift from the comedy gods that provides him with the perfect off-the-cuff opener. This year’s theme is time, and surely, he reasons, once the man has bought his ticket he can spend that time doing exactly what he wants. He philosophises! He scores! One-nil to the beardy man, and the crowd go wild.
It’s eyes wide open for the rest of us as we set off on a magical mystery tour to the fourth dimension. He poses important questions like, ‘If time is money, have you ever tried paying the bus with fifteen minutes?’ Like previous shows, Rob has gathered his observations together in a portfolio of ponderings. The converted lecture hall is the perfect setting as he reads from his journals and paces the stage.
We laugh a lot but we also learn. Oh, do we learn. We learn that he loves sharing flapjacks (though they were hogged by the first three rows), that he demonstrates his inner conflict through the medium of a Stretch Armstrong doll and that it’s OK for a comedian to cry real tears whilst making bubble wrap sound lyrical.
Somebody please give this man a TV series soon. We could all do with further enlightenment.