Paul Foot welcomes himself onstage to an almost sell-out crowd at the Palace Nova and begins by giving a run-down of what we can expect for the next hour. Random Madness, Disturbances and some humorous moments are all on the menu.
Foot’s on-stage persona is a cross between Dudley Moore’s character Arthur (from the movie of the same name) and someone occasionally enraged by the bigotry and madness around him.
The UK comedian tests the water with some “Disturbances”, as he calls them, consisting of his comic observations written onto cards. He has a few of these in his bag and throughout his routine draws upon them randomly. Some are well-scripted, others less so (in my opinion).
Onto Random Madness – one-liners which have no meaning and, quite honestly, no point. One or two dotted throughout the evening would have been mildly amusing but after about five of these, Foot began to lose my attention at this early stage in the routine. The diminishing audience response suggested others concurred.
However, when Foot embarked on his main self-interest theme of homophobia, he regained control of the 200-plus people who had come to see him. Using “scientific” tests on front-row male “volunteers”, he demonstrated his point that even the most heterosexual of males harbours gay tendencies. Who’d have thought …
His observational humour is very engaging, although I found his occasional quirky angry convulsions more distracting than funny.
For me, a sign of a great comedian is one who believes his or her material is strong enough to stand up on its own without the need of expletives. Paul Foot, along with my personal favourite Bill Bailey, are fine examples.
Paul Foot – Words is at Palace Nova, Cinema 9, until March 15.
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