The Talk Show @ Wardrobe ★★★★★


By Niamh Rowe, Online Features Editor

'The quirk of Noel Fielding, the philosophy of an activist and the story-telling abilities of a novelist' - why Rob Auton's talk-poetry is so mesmerising.

Rob Auton’s The Talk Show did exactly as it said on the tin: it consisted of one man talking to the audience. There was no set, props or visual effects, just Auton confiding in us. To assign a genre to this talking would limit the atmosphere and feeling of the Auton’s discourse; it is part spoken word poetry, part comedy and part random-rambling.

Julian Ward

Auton has created and marketed his own niche brand of talking that I have not seen from another artist. His talking weaves between absurdist comedy built on puns and his peculiar observations – in complete sincerity Auton asks ‘why do we have hairdryers in our houses and not hand driers? It’s just something we’ve all agreed to do and not speak about’ as well as repeating the entire show in sped up unbroken sentences whenever a latecomer would arrive in to the audience ‘as we’ve all paid the same for a ticket’- to darker meditations on the tragedy he sees in peoples’ inability to communicate with each other.

What is so irresistible about Auton’s work is how quickly he merges clever and quirky observations about life with moving and sobering perceptions. He mused about the irrationality of how wondrous and unique our planet is yet how complacent we’ve become to this wonder. We never stop to acknowledge the awe of birds singing or the changing seasons and how fearful we’ve become of speaking to the people around us, illustrated when Auton arbitrarily chose audience members, asked them to introduce themselves and whether they’ve met before. Auton again demonstrating his flair for combining pathos and comic relief, creating an interdisciplinary medium that is necessary to reflect the world he talks about, that is equally gloomy, beautiful, humorous and absurd.

My favourite moment from the show, bar his anecdote of the dogs that double take him due to his characteristically long hair and beard, was his concluding poem of the estate agent on Jupiter who is selling a house on Earth to two aliens. Through this persona Auton reflects on why our world is such a special place to live, and that for hypothetical aliens we are that far off world that is awe-inspiring and wondrous. Cleverly, the description from the estate agent is not a fiction from a sci-fi film but is our reality; our disregard for its preservation is baffling. The poem’s comical premise set light-hearted and absurdist parameters that were filled in with philosophical and poignant reflections, summarising Auton’s organic merging of the two.

Julian Ward

He somehow pulls off the quirk of Noel Fielding, the philosophy of an activist and the story-telling abilities of a novelist with limited pretence. I will definitely be looking out for Auton’s The Time Show in the coming future.

(Featured image credit / Julian Ward)

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Niamh Rowe

Deputy Features Online Editor 3nd year English and Philosophy