WHMSICAL, quirky, eccentric, captivating, engaging, sincere, understated, bumbling, moving, charming, warm – all words that have described Rob Auton.

I’d add a few more – hairy, diffident, soul-searching, awkward, odd. Very odd.

Auton’s stage persona is an interesting mix of most of the above and he’s certainly not everyone’s cup of Yorkshire tea, but somehow he’s quite addictive because you don’t quite know what he’s going to come out of his mouth next.

He has been around for ages, is a darling of the Edinburgh Fringe (aren’t they all), but remains firmly under the mainscreen radar, flying mostly to aficionados of his low maintenance performance art.

Auton is, to be fair, a nightmare to categorise – writer, comedian, actor? I think poet, shambling raconteur and self-effacing performance analyst to be fairly accurate.

And, although it would be utterly disrespectful to promulgate the Poundshop Stewart Lee comparison, Auton does inhabit a similar field of play – maybe a National League North journeyman against Lee’s Premier League dissection of his craft, but he’s carving out a decent niche for himself, thank you very much.

Anyway, he introduced himself from backstage to a substantial Sherling Studio audience – the venue, for those unfamiliar with it, is almost in the round with three sides of seats, one side being significantly smaller than the other three.

Auton shuffled on bearing a handful of battered books, noticed four blokes sitting alone on the small side and proceeded to ‘encourage’ them to move to a more populated side. He subsequently went off, the four blokes moved, Auton came back to great acclaim and all were happy. He preferred playing to two sides.

He then proceeded to rehearse the audience in a chant aimed at embarrassing any latecomers. Sadly, none arrived, not even after he’d been outside to check. It was all going well? It was meant to be like that.

This tour is The Rob Auton Show, his most personal performance to date – his life story in words and a few pictures; the human experience as detailed by a skilled wordsmith.

But more of that later – first he did a turn as his own support act, running through some of his greatest hits from previous tours, on such unlikely subjects as yellow (a lengthy spiel about buying only yellow food from a supermarket), sky, hair, talk, sleep, time and crowds.

Top of the pile was water (if water can be at the top of a pile), not just for the crowd-pleasing Edwin Starr style chant based on his War anthem, but also for the line that water is soup for people who don’t like ingredients.

You get the picture.

But the second half changed. Still the same Auton, but a much more introspective feel. Armed with a sheaf of notebooks and notes which looked likely to spill on to the floor at any time, Auton’s warm, intimate poetry and prose transported the audience into his memories, mostly of childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

It was very personal stuff, but the funny was still there – the cricket career during which he didn’t score a single run, circumcision, the tooth fairy, going tenpin bowling by himself, visiting a northern theme park on the day the Princess of Wales died and his talkative plumber father.

Auton did a lovely Christmas routine about he and his sister being captivated by a lava lamp gift – and produced a picture of the moment. Sadly, he was unaware of the Poole connection with Edward Craven-Walker of Mathmos inventing the blessed things, or, I suspect, it would have been included.

He also spoke of getting a Saturday job in a kitchen in a Yorkshire town, where he was tasked with making Thai crab cakes and became known, proudly, as the Crab Cake Kid.

After a go at university he managed, through his father’s connections. to get a graphic design position in London where he proceeded to make unusable adverts for major firms.

Performance art gradually took over from graphic art following a disastrous performance at a senior colleague’s fireworks party and the rest, as they say, is history.

The latter years of that history – forged a career, met a girl, got married, bought a house – were skimmed over (another whole show there methinks).

Auton appears to give a shambling performance, but the arrival of special effects (well, dry ice and music) were timed to perfection, suggesting that this was well crafted and tightly scripted after all. Not everyone gets him, which I think is half the fun.

And so, it was over. He was last seen sitting on the floor signing copies of his graphic design greatest hits (three for £20), books and a T shirt.