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Paul Foot: Ash In The Attic

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Marissa Burgess

At the top of his show, Paul Foot announces that he isn’t a conventional comedian. Anyone aware of his career so far will already know that his gigs are never likely to follow any of the ‘rules’ that govern stand-up.

Even if you’re not familiar with his work, his appearance is a good indicator of the eccentricity to come –the kipper tie and pale slacks of the Seventies comedian and a most entertaining mullet, almost shaved at the top with shoulder-length waves beneath. However, this does prove a most practical style when it comes to wearing the collection of hats he models on picture postcards handed out at the end of the gig.

As an unconventional comedian, Foot ponders the convention that he should come on applause – should it not, instead, be warm receptive faces? So he decides to start the show all over again and try it both ways. Plenty of shambling follows, including stealing a bag from the front row with the line ‘Would you like me to store that for you?’

‘Let’s get straight to it’ he announces at least ten minutes in and the show, directed by Noel Fielding, starts (again). Welcome to the unhinged , but brilliant, world of Paul Foot.

Sometimes this is like watching a doddering old lady who’s slightly losing her marbles potter about her kitchen trying to get some tea together, muttering to herself, trying one thing then wandering off and doing something entirely different.

He slips into a lengthy routine of ‘topical’ humour about Shire horses, village fetes and homophobia. Then some one-liners are read off patterned cue cards and there’s a final drama featuring skeletons, Rachmaninov and a giant trifle.

Foot’s a daring comedian, never concerned about bamboozling his crowds and accepting that he frequently splits an unsuspecting room. Though when Chortle were in, the crowd seemed to be made up of fans; there were many shrieks of uncontrollable laughter and when an imaginary phone is passed around after Foot tires of the verbose fictional person on the other end, many in the audience happily continue the charade.

It’s inspired, surreal and incomprehensibly funny. Don’t question it, just go with it.

Review date: 21 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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