Rob Auton to explore what ‘talking’ means in THE TALK SHOW at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Name: Rob Auton
Name of Edinburgh show: The Talk Show
Venue: Just The Tonic at the Caves
Performance time: 6.10pm
Show length: One hour
Ticket price: £5 in Advance or pay want you want after the show

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your performing background?
Here’s a little bit about myself. I’ve got two copies of the film Groundhog Day on DVD. They sit next to each other on the shelf. One of my ambitions is to go drunken metal detecting on Brighton beach at sunset. I saw someone doing it the other night and it looked like really good fun. The beeping in the ears, the shouts of “YEEEESSSS”, the hands plummeting into the stones. The holding of a ring pull up to the sky.

Performing background wise, I have been standing up and trying to get my point across in my Yorkshire accent since 2007. I started off reading out ideas at poetry nights and then I got invited to do the same thing at comedy nights. Since 2012 I have taken a solo show up to the Edinburgh Fringe every year. Each year I pick a different theme and put it in the middle of a spider diagram and go from there really. I pick the subject and then call it ‘The (insert subject) Show’. The first one I did was about the colour yellow and it was called ‘The Yellow Show’. I have since done shows about the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, and this year I’m exploring my relationship with talking.

Tell me about your show, what it is all about?
Ah that worked out well, this year my show is about talking. I want to explore what talking means to me and if I can do it. I also want to find out if I can talk about talking in such a way that it speaks to people. Being a performer, I spend a lot of time on my own and this has changed the way I interact with people. I’m not as match fit when it comes to conversation as I used to be when I worked in an office. I want to take the opportunity of being in the company of people to talk to people. I want to find out if anybody in the room has got a lava lamp or been up in a hot air balloon or met an A list celebrity on the street in America and I want to talk about it to try and make a connection as I’ve felt myself becoming more disconnected.

How long have you been working on this show and what is it that makes it relevant to audiences in 2018?
I have been working on this show since September 2017. I think audiences in 2018 are much like audiences in 1918. They want to be entertained, they want to see something fresh, they want to see someone on stage trying their best and they want to leave the event with things in their heads that weren’t there before. Firstly I have to make the show relevant to myself. I have to look for my own truth through my work and explore that. I don’t sit down and think “is this relevant to audiences in 2018?” I want to explore subjects that are going to be relevant in 100 years time. No matter how advanced technology becomes people are still going to have that need to talk and communicate. I do think the show is relevant to the human race in 2018 because it seems people (including me) are craving communication more than ever but not scratching the itch through talking.

Do you have any top tips for surviving the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – both for performers and visitors to the event?
Top tips as a performer in Edinburgh, remember that three is a crowd. Speak to people who aren’t involved in the festival on the phone. “Smile and the world smiles with you” does not work when you are handing out flyers. I try to listen to music on my headphones as much as I can up there. I try to eat a lot of broccoli and fish and new potatoes as I can up there. Earplugs have helped me out in the past too. Going for walks in places where you aren’t going to get handed flyers can help. I try to remind myself that reviewers were children once too, they are adults now and they are just trying to get by like everybody else.

As a visitor I would say, take some punts on shows you have no idea about, from personal experience, if you get handed a flyer by a nervous looking young person who says “free comedy” as they hand you the flyer and it’s them on the flyer that they’ve handed you. Go and see the show because it could be the best thing you see all fringe but it could also be a very uncomfortable hour, either way it will be memorable.

What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Err I was on stage in Reading and it was a comedy and curry night. All you can eat curry and then comedy after. The energy in the room was the energy you have after eating too much curry. I said “has anybody seen me before” and a man said “yeah, you were shit then, and you’re shit now.” I tell myself that was funny. Why am I crying?

Who are your biggest inspirations in the industry and why?
In the industry? What like the entertainment industry? Or the comedy industry? I’ve got a manager who is quite inspiring actually. I’ve never known anybody who can make people feel alright like she can.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?
I like stretching and shouting at the same time.
What other acts are you looking forward to seeing at Edinburgh Fringe?
Kriss Foster, Lucy Hopkins, Daniel Kitson, Tim Key, Sean Mahoney

Why do you think people should come and see your show over the thousands of others on at the fringe?
Ooosh that’s got some aggression has that question hasn’t it? Why don’t you tell me eh? OK err I think people should come and see my show over the thousands of tohers at the show because my Dad said to me “you need to try to sell some tickets because we can’t keep putting £200 in your account.”


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