This show was perfectly set up by comedy poet Malcolm Head, who performed a 20 minute set of poems, haikus, the most surprising piece of crowd work I’ve ever seen and respectful football chants. Malcolm has supported Paul Foot on his tours for the past four years, but it would be great to see him set out on his own and perform his own hour. I believe he’s performed at the Fringe before and I’m sure wouldn’t have any trouble adapting his act for a longer format again.
Paul Foot bursts onto the stage and opens by praising the amazing atmosphere on a subdued Sunday night. It’s sarcastic of course, but you could swear from his energy that he’d just stepped into the vast stage at Madison Square Garden and not the wee stage at The Stand, Edinburgh.
His opening topics on schools, twitter and long married couples on holiday having an argument belie the absolute bizzarity of the material. Some of the lines are so clever it takes the crowd a few seconds to catch up, by which point he’s either become distracted by something in the audience, is dwelling on the line to help us all out or has bounded on to the next topic. He barely stands still for a second and the action regularly takes him into the audience for ever weirder discussions. All of this may sound like a criticism, but this character manages to keep it entertaining.
The segments on tabloid phrasing and Oscar Pistorius are both brilliant and controversial and a clever and intense set piece at 40/45 minutes grips the audience at what is generally a low point in most shows.
Paul Foot has put together a show to confound most comedy fans expectations, although his style will be familiar to members of his fan club, The Guild of Paul Foot Connoisseurs. His energy on stage is unmatched by any comic that I’ve seen either live or on TV and he’s sure to put on a spectacle. If you manage to catch him, hopefully he’ll be joined by Malcolm Head too, the pair of them make for quite a show.