Rob Auton: The Sleep Show | Gig review by Steve Bennett at Latitude

Rob Auton: The Sleep Show

Note: This review is from 2016

Gig review by Steve Bennett at Latitude

It’s a bold or foolhardy comedian to use the title The Sleep Show, almost inviting criticism that it’ll cause you to nod off.

Sadly, that portent has come true with Rob Auton’s latest hour, which is so aimless and repetitive for the first 50 minutes that it has a soporific effect. The final act reveals what he was getting at with his musings, but after a languidly unfocussed and over-long journey, especially for an outdoor festival crowd who need little excuse to disengage.

Essentially, Auton makes the point that sleep is one of the things that binds us all: Foreigner sleep, horses sleep, famous people sleep. Of course, that applies to almost every bodily function, but Auton’s elevating unconsciousness into something special. And not just because he can double the entendres about sleeping with animals or whatever – a joke he thinks so good, he returns to it time and again.

The Sleep Show has the feel of someone who was asked about 20 minutes ago to speak on the subject and is now riffing on some vague initial ideas he’s jotted down. He speaks with a desperate gravity: declaiming each sentence forcefully in his Yorkshire brogue then leaving a pause for the impact of what he’s said to sink in. Only problem is, what he said doesn’t usually have much impact.

There are a few bits of stand-up lite. Wondering who came up with the phrase ‘sleep like a log’ or commenting upon the folly of the snooze button, but nothing too original.  Another attempt to vary the underwritten monologue comes via a gimmick in which he gets the audience to close their eyes as he talks through a dream, with their suggestions filling in details. It’s not improv, though, and like so much of the show, has limited entertainment value or indeed point.

The last ten minutes is the crux of the show, when he reveals, via a letter from Santa, why he loves sleep – but more crucially why he should enjoy his waking hours more. With this late personal revelation, Auton pulls a satisfying conclusion from what otherwise amounts to rather a lot of blether.

Review date: 18 Jul 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Latitude

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