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Paul Foot: Still Life

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Julian Hall

‘That was a lot of effort for three laughs,’ says a punter leaving Paul Foot's latest Fringe show. It's a view succinctly put and it get to the heart of this latest display of lunacy from the louche comedian.

Certainly Still Life is not without charm and, by the standards of some previous outings, it's quite tight, almost as tight as the pair of white Seventies-style slacks Foot wears to complete his Rod Stewart chic, along with a leather jacket, a kipper tie and a mullet.

The show starts by not quite starting, Foot ekes out the backstage announcement as much as possible and then comes from behind the curtain to map out what will happen when he actually does make it to the stage for real.

This doesn't happen for a good 20 minutes but in that time he has won the audience over with his OCD-like preparations and his description of the applause he expects to get at certain stages, one level corresponding to how much we would applaud a certain historical event (to give it away would spoil one of the best jokes of the night).

When finally on stage Foot reads some prepared material from postcards, including one half-yarn or ‘glimpse of comedy’, about an accident-prone prostitute. Soon after, he introduces a brilliant time-wasting wheeze, a toy stick horse, that, depending on which way it is held, determines whether Foot will speak English or gobbledygook or a mix of both.

There can be little doubt that Paul Foot has got some front when it comes to wasting the time of his audience, groping around for inspiration or embarking on semi-improvised musings on the virtues of lever arch files. At times prancing and pathetic, at other times eloquent and inspired, the lasting impression of the show is an enjoyable bemusement.

If that can be the case even when you know what he's about, well that must mean he is doing something right, mustn't it?

Review date: 8 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Julian Hall

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