If there’s one thing we can all agree on about Rob Auton it’s that he’s thorough. After previous shows devoted solely to the topics of the colour yellow, the sky, faces, talking, water, sleep and hair, Rob Auton’s new show dissects the rather more abstruse concept of time. It’s a show packed with jokes, and yes, pretty much all of them are about chronology.
The first thing that strikes you about Rob Auton is his stage presence, somehow blasé and intense at the same time. Reading from a stack of papers as disheveled as his impressive beard and hair, he tells his jokes with a strange Northern-accented monotone, sometimes as if he’s reading them for the first time. I don’t mean this in a bad way; his delivery suits the material, and equally off-kilter and guileless collection of one liners, anecdotes and spoken word.
There is plenty of whimsy to be found in the concept of time, as you might expect in such a broad, abstract subject, but this irreverence lowers your guard for some moments of genuine poignancy. Rob ponders about how the first man to buy a watch must constantly have been bothered by people asking him for the time, but then will transition smoothly into a reflection about how time unites us, and is one of the few things that we as a species can all agree on.
Many parts of the show walk the line between Rob the Comedian and Rob the Poet. There’s a really lovely bit about what Rob would have written in his diary if he was able to immediately after he was born. And the ending of the show, essentially a spoken-word piece where he compares the memories collected through life as bubbles in a roll of bubble wrap, finds beauty and profundity in quiet, mundane moments of an ordinary life, and had several audience members with damp eyes. As precious as time is, this show is well worth an hour of yours.
Main Image Credit: Julian Ward