Rob Auton: The Face Show | Review by Steve Bennett
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Rob Auton: The Face Show

Note: This review is from 2014

Review by Steve Bennett

Rob Auton won the ‘joke of the Fringe’ title run by Dave last year, although in reality a glib one-liner is no advertisement for his high-concept show of ambitious ideas and themes.

Unfortunately The Face Show falls short of the lofty goals he would hope to achieve; which is a pity as he comes across as a genuine, unassuming bloke pursuing a well-intentioned dream to connect with audiences with a real message, rather than chasing fame and fortune through comedy.

No prizes for guessing what the topic of this hour is, and Auton sets the ball rolling by expressing delight both at his own fizzog and the fact we’ve all brought ours along with us too. An energetic facial workout puts us all in a good mood.

Auton’s own face has a touch of the young Simon Munnery to it – and so does what goes on behind there, a mix of the playful and the super-smart; although he hasn’t nailed the comedy side yet, a few wry, thoughtful sequences is about as far as he goes.

Starting from the idea that our facial features are what define and identify us, Auton pretty quickly switches to using ‘faces’ as a synonym for ‘people’, and the show gets a lot less interesting because of it, since there are so many potential lines of quirky thought within the narrower constraints which are left unfollowed.

The show culminates in a semi-whimsical five-minute polemic in which an alien and a mouse observe the humans and wonder why the faces that can make something as beautiful as a choral masterpiece are also capable of inflicting the horrors of war. Appealing, florid writing does not disguise the naivety of the sentiment, which eventually subsides into something a little more personal, although still lacking in insight.

Nonetheless, Auton shows some raw emotion here, awakening his own dormant feelings, making him vulnerable and endearing. He never seems particularly comfortable on stage, though, sometimes taking a few nervous steps down the central aisle only to turn around and come back again, having achieved nothing, yet all this serves to make us like him more.

He seems as if he might be capable of an amazing show, but currently feels as if he’s still working towards making all the elements pull together. And a couple more of those one-liners might help, let’s face it…

Review date: 23 Aug 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Banshee Labyrinth

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