Yesterday I watched a man in a yellow coat talking about his favourite colour for an hour. It was the best thing I have ever seen on the Free Fringe. There are very few shows which change the way you see the world. The Yellow Show is one of those shows and the change is literal as well as metaphorical. Upon entering the crypt you are presented with a pair of “yelevision” spectacles, lovingly handmade from yellow card and decorated with black permanent marker. You’ll have to forgive me if I start to sound sentimental over the course of this review – I was watching everything through gold-tinted glasses after all. The show’s set is a testament to what you can do with a little creativity, a lot of passion and no budget, right down to the individually-painted copies of The Yellow Album stacked by the entrance.
The Yellow Show is a strange and magical experience, a refreshing escape from reality. Leaving cynicism at the door, Auton has created a beautiful place where sponges have minds and the world is just a little bit brighter. It’s hard to explain the show without it sounding like some kind of idyllic primary-school activites session. It isn’t. I’m still not quite sure what it is, but it’s not that.
Rob Auton is a distinctly weird man. His material falls somewhere between comedy, poetry and lunatic raving. There are a lot of terrible acts who advertise the same mix of genres, but in Auton’s hands it becomes something simple, original, optimistic, life-affirming and, of course, deeply silly. Now, I don’t want to give you a false impression of the show. The Yellow Show is frequently rubbish: the puns are terrible from the outset (“Yellow,” he greets us, “and yelcome...”) and a single rhyme on ‘maroon’ is stretched into a three-minute poem which doesn’t correspond with any artistically recognised definition of ‘good.’ However, this rubbishness, this wildly successful rubbishness, is what makes The Yellow Show unmissable. To criticise this show for its moments of bizarre whimsy would be like heckling Tommy Cooper for sometimes messing up his magic tricks. When Auton reaches his final poem ‘Why Yellow’, the show moves beyond inspired surrealism and becomes something unexpectedly moving.