Fringe festival is the most welcoming art event of the world. Anyone who wants to can be part of it in any way they want; artists, audience and staff make a big celebrating community, all of them excited, overwhelmed and also tired for different reasons but in the same spirit of fun and creativity. That’s why I find it so challenging to spot the good events from the ones you wish you hadn’t spent your time on, even though both of these categories seem to be equal parts of the experience. Things get even trickier when it comes to ‘comedy’; such a vast and diverse genre and the very core of it – humor – is such a subjective sense. However, through my 3 years of relentless fringe show hunting, I’ve noticed that there is one thing that comedians have in common and I’m personally not very fond of; the are LOUD.
That’s why my first impression of Rob Auton: The Talk Show was how tranquil his hilarity was. There was absolutely nothing pompous about his performance, which was filled with everyday life observations amplified through words made of thoughts that we all have but never really talk about; never really notice that they are there; definitely never share them with strangers! Somehow, his humor encapsulated surrealism into normality engaging the audience with his poetry of the ordinary; a value re-apportionment of everything around us.
If there’s something I really enjoy in comedy is when performers say something so hilarious that they can help but break character and laugh at their own jokes. Rob Auton made us all immerse into the brilliance of his poetry only to suddenly catch us off guard with little humorous comments that even himself couldn’t keep a straight face from. Despite his obvious eccentricity – a genuine artist as he is – he was one of us, he improvised from our stories, he made us part of his show through either direct dialogue or simply by referring to common knowledge, which he would twist in a masterly manner.
Talking about words, that his show was about, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to sit there and listen to him negotiating their meaning at a time when I often find myself thinking about words and how difficult they sometimes make communication even though they are supposed to serve it. Words can shape our reality and his extraordinary use of them definitely molded mine for the 1 hour that the show lasted. At the end I was happy to see that Rob Auton is published writer/illustrator and of course I bought all 3 of his available books, from which the photo of this article comes from.
This was the last Fringe 2018 show for me, at The Caves in Cowgate, a perfect end to a 3-week heartwarming journey. I needed the city to go quiet again before started writing about The Talk Show; quiet and intimate as it was, ‘so loud that it didn’t need any volume’.