REVIEW: Kriss Foster and Friend, and Rob Auton

Kriss Foster and Friend
Kriss Foster and Friend

Lancaster duo Kriss Foster & Friend were joined by fellow Edinburgh Fringe act Rob Auton, all the way from London to perform his sky-themed show to a sold-out audience at The Round.

‘Mr Blue Sky’ by Electric Light Orchestra blasting out over the speakers, Rob Auton appeared, adorning the stage equipment with sheets of blue cloth and tissue paper in preparation for his aptly named ‘Sky Show’.

The 60 minute show saw him discuss the sky in a variety of forms; stand up comedy, short stories, crudely drawn pictures, and even a surprisingly lovely spoken word poem, set to atmospheric music by instrumental band Explosions In the Sky.

Despite a couple of rowdy audience members, Rob Auton created a friendly atmosphere, dealing with the few hecklers tactfully. His quirky delivery added to his clever humour, providing laughs from start to finish.

After a short interval, a synthesized voice gave a dramatic introduction as Kriss Foster rose from his onstage hiding place in his homemade leopard suit, wielding two sparklers. His first couple of songs were performed alone; classics ‘The Vimto Song’ and ‘She Fell Between The Station And The Train’ provoking smiles of recognition from the mostly local audience.

He was then joined by his “one friend”, Mr Ferris, who played a variety of odd electronic instruments, as well as performing a magic trick with a scented dog dirt bag. Mr Ferris was slightly disconcerting onstage, maintaining a stunned expression throughout the entire performance, prompting plenty of banter from his mild-mannered friend.

Describing it as their “rock and roll number”, Mr Ferris swapped to playing guitar for ‘I Am the Postman’, also contributing some rather alarming falsetto backing vocals behind Kriss’ humorous lyrics about stealing people’s mail.

As is now custom in Kriss Foster shows, he presented a member of the audience with a birthday gift, and celebrated even further by handing out Vimto sweets to the entire audience in celebration. It is this kind of audience involvement that makes the show so exciting, including each and every member and creating a sense of camaraderie.

The show ended with a song devoted to Morecambe, another familiar song to the local members of the audience. The song was accompanied by a series of Kriss’ cartoon illustrations on large sheets of paper, proudly held up by a boy picked out of the audience.

In the words of Kriss, himself, he came with one friend, and left with many. Both shows were cleverly written and packed with original ideas, making for a fantastic Edinburgh Fringe double bill.

By Thom Waite