For the last decade, Rob Auton has selected a single idea to concentrate his Fringe efforts upon. This time around, he’s turning his philosophically comedic cannon on time itself, breaking down our lives into each of their component moments and analysing what the bloody hell that’s all about, anyway. The end result is a mishmash hour of poetry, stand-up and poignant musings that is at points profound and at others preposterous, sometimes hilarious and sometimes heart-wrenching, often absurd and occasionally nonsensical, but never dull and always absorbing.
Among other scholarly questions on today’s bill are deep-thinking whoppers such as: Are we slaves to time? Can we free ourselves of it? Who invented it? How long did it take to catch on? When did we lose the sense of wonder that dominated our younger years, and can we ever get it back? On paper, these posers might seem more morose than humorous, but Auton’s shambling, deadpan persona finds a way to twist them on their side, examine them from all angles and pinpoint a new insight that’ll either provoke an epiphany or tickle a funny bone – or perhaps both. It’s intellectual without being esoteric and grounded by Auton’s affable onstage presence.
For the uninitiated, Auton is probably quite like nothing else they’ve come across before. He gladly points out that fans of his show will likely return the following year, while those who don’t quite know what to make of his work won’t be back – and how handy that arrangement is for all concerned, and how inconvenient its inverse would be. For Fringe goers who like a little contemplation along with their gag reel, a smidgeon of poetry and perhaps even a morsel of melancholy, he’s one to come back to, time and time again.