Rob Auton is a Darkchat favourite and always has a place on the spreadsheet (of course, we need a spreadsheet).
Over time, we have seen him progress from a cosy to a substantial room in this atmospheric venue. This year we
were also pleased to be part of a queue of people before the show who'd booked tickets in advance to guarantee
admittance. Word is getting out that he is someone worth seeing, and thus making sure that you get in if you do come
to see him!
At the start, Rob Auton asks if anyone has seen him before and it is clear this applies to over half of the audience.
As some are unfamiliar with his work, he gives us a whistle stop tour through his previous themed shows (air, sleep,
water, faces, sky, yellow) and explains that this year he is ready to talk.
Auton is a performer of great charm, his genuine interest in people and their experiences is apparent when he chats to the audience. His distinctive line of questioning, and the responses he receives, generates a great deal of laughter. He shares stories and poems with the unique insights and delightful wordplay we have come to expect, as well as some 'proper jokes' to confuse critics who try to pigeonhole his work. And he is certainly ready to talk, particularly about social isolation and awkwardness, in a way that is heartfelt and touching, as well as funny. He concludes with a quirky and moving fable which left us both wiping away a tear.
I was feeling a little poorly before the start of the show and, if I'd booked to see any other performer, would probably have opted just to return to the apartment for a nap. Instead, I emerged from the Caves if not rejuvenated (let's not expect miracles) then at least sufficiently restored to enjoy the rest of the evening.
So if you are already suffering from Festival Fatigue, I recommend you get yourself down to the Caves...
Rob Auton: The Talk Show is at Just The Tonic at The Caves until August 26th
Just The Tonic at The Caves (Venue 88) 18.10