Rob Auton: The Rob Auton Show | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Rob Auton: The Rob Auton Show

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

It’s taken him ten shows, based around such specific themes as hair, the sky and the colour yellow, but Rob Auton has ended up where most comedians start – with a show all about himself. 

Recapping the best one-liners from those previous works gets him off to a cracking start, though the body of The Rob Auton Show is a much more laid-back, ponderous affair. 

There’s not much momentum, but plenty to enjoy in Auton’s poetic descriptions, delivered softly and warmly and with a cheeringly optimistic outlook, taking joy in the ‘mundane magic of the everyday’. His favourite sound in what he always refers to as ‘the human experience’ is an incredulous ‘what?!’ as some new wonder presents itself.

Their gentle nature mean some of the observations and stories from Auton’s youth struggle to get purchase with the audience. But slowly a picture builds up of himself as a slightly marginalised child, preferring art to sport and recalling with still-fresh vividness the shame he felt when he thought he’d broken a borrowed games console.

He made himself useful in his first job in a restaurant kitchen, but his co-workers teased - bullied? - him too. They only do that because he’s one of the gang, right? Later he got a job in an advertising agency, scratching that creative itch, even if much of the work he produced was way too quirky for the corporate world. His innate sensibilities haven’t changed since then.

Today, he’s a gentle, sensitive soul, curious (in both senses of the word), with a flair for creatively descriptive phrase-making and an inherent ‘niceness’ that spreads freely through his audience.

Routines that have big impact are not his style – except for his show-stopper, when he finally allows a bit of passion into his belly. But gradually, over the hour a more complex, nuanced picture of the charming, bearded man on stage emerges through hints and inferences, made more explicit in that finale. For all his outward winsomeness, perhaps it is not always sunny in the garden of Auton. 

In a world where people – especially comedians – wear their damaged hearts on their sleeves, this gentler, more reserved approach, seems slightly quaint. But that’s very much on-brand for Rob Auton.

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Review date: 6 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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