Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2019
Rob Auton: "If your material looks odd or different audiences might be less inclined to risk letting you give it to them. I’m still trying to find out how I can make an audience like my ideas as much as I do."
THE TIME SHOW | Assembly George Square - Studio Five
31 July – 26 Aug (excl 13th) at 14.50 | TICKETS
Following on from his shows about the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair and talking, award-winning writer and performer Rob Auton turns his attention to time.
Hello Rob many thanks for talking to TNC, how are you doing?
Hello, thanks for having me, I’m doing alright thanks yeah. The sun is shining on the cactus in my bedroom and making it grow. I’m a big fan of that.
What does it mean to you to be bringing The Time Show to Edinburgh?
It means that I’m going to get to do my show every day in a city that I love, which I’m chuffed about. Edinburgh for me is the best way to improve as a performer and to get a show as good as it can be. It also means that I’m going to get to see some shows and be able to walk home after. It means that I’m going to have some waves to ride but I’m up for tackling them to the best of my ability.
Do you ever get any nerves ahead of the festival?
Not really nervous but I get quite concerned about what I’m about to take on. I definitely have to sort myself out for it. Like going on a long walk, I don’t get nervous about it, I just try to prepare to the best of my ability and then see what happens when I’m walking.
You had an amazing run in 2018 with The Talk Show, did you expect you would get this type of reaction to your show?
Thanks for that, no I didn’t expect it. I’ve kind of learnt not to expect anything in life. I keep my expectations for everything at a base level and then I don’t get disappointed and sometimes I get surprised. I knew I’d worked hard on making a show and I hoped people would come to it and give me a chance to say my piece. I knew that the stuff in the show did something to me when I said it and I hoped it would do something to other people too.
What was your first fringe experience like?
I was part of a show called ‘The Big Comedy Breakfast’, at the Apex Hotel on the Grassmarket at 11.30 am. Three people doing fifteen minutes and a compere. Lionel Blair was doing a show called ‘Tap and Chat’ in the next room. He was an ultimate pro that month for sure. I couldn’t believe how many people were in Edinburgh. I’d read about the festival in Trainspotting but that was about as far as my knowledge went likely.
"I try to make myself think about how I feel about it and I’ve been doing that with time for about eleven months now."
What was the strangest & funniest review you’ve ever gotten?
Here’s a selection.
“One can only guess what’s going through the head of a man that elaborates in detail on the level of shame a fox would feel if he caught it drinking out of a puddle and the awkward conversation that would ensue thereafter.”
“He never seems particularly comfortable on stage”
“Gaunt and deliberate.”
“Once immersed in his borderline autistic world there are all sorts of bizarre pearls of wisdom to behold.”
“Like watching a kid caught in the stage lights of his first Nativity.”
“Auton has this drunk, childlike quality to him.”
“He knows the show is ‘hit and miss’, not helped any further in this instance by the fact that half of his audience are Finnish GCSE students.”
Can you tell me a little bit about The Time Show, what can we expect?
This year my show is about time. Previously I have done shows about yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking, and this year's about time. It is going to be me standing on stage for an hour trying to get my head around time. Asking myself questions such as “what is it time?” I write the show out on a computer and then read it out in parts and memorise other bits. Basically, I use these hours to go off on one about a subject. I try to make myself think about how I feel about it and I’ve been doing that with time for about eleven months now.
What was the inspiration behind your new show?
I want to explore subjects that have been part of my life since birth and time is one of those subjects. If you sit down in a chair and ask yourself how you feel about time and what it does to you it can be quite inspiring
Has there always been a passion for comedy and performing?
I’ve always enjoyed laughing I can say that for sure. At university, I realized that if I made my presentations funny, people were more likely to listen to what I had to say. I developed a passion for writing before I had an urge to perform though. I just wanted to share what I had written and the quickest way to do that was at open mic poetry and comedy nights.
How much has your style and approach to your work changed since you started?
I am a harsher critic of the writing than I used to be I think. I try to write things out over and over until the words that can go show themselves to me. I guess I look at the work more than I used to. Hopefully, I take it more seriously than when I started. I’m still trying to figure out how to present something to an audience in the best way. The cake might taste nice once it’s in their mouths but they’ve got to open wide first of all. If your material looks odd or different audiences might be less inclined to risk letting you give it to them. I’m still trying to find out how I can make an audience like my ideas as much as I do.
What 3 words best describe this show?
Punctual, considered, deliberate.
For anyone making their debut this year do you have any tips?
Try to eat a lot of fruit and veg. Remember alcohol is a depressant and three is a crowd in Edinburgh. Focus on how good you want the show to be and not what the audience think of it.
And finally, what do you want your audiences to take away from The Time Show?
I would love it if people came out of the show and were excited about what they were doing next. I want the show to be a rallying cry for people to do things. I’d love to make a show that makes people feel up for the time they’ve got. That is my goal.