Review: Paul Foot - Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major, The Avenue Theatre, Ipswich, June 12

Comedian Paul Foot

Comedian Paul Foot - Credit: Archant

Tonight, direct from Ben’s lap. Not the usual start to a show, but Foot’s not a normal comedian.

Forced to do his off-stage introduction from the stage because his microphone is “broken”, the first frenetic 20-plus minutes features a handful of bits he’s been forced to “cut” from his act because they’re too childish or at his agent’s insistence.

Cue detailed stories involving taking revenge on an overly-attentive bed and breakfast landlady, a marriage wrecking sesame seed and tiger prawn raviolo and the aforementioned Ben being treated as a prop. Twice.

Quirky and surreal, he reeled across the stage like a madman after laying out the show’s official running order; with sections titles including Cruel Humour and Reptile Dysfunction.

Some of the packed theatre clearly knew what they were in for over the next hour, some clearly not; resulting in an uneven response from the audience at times. Foot is an acquired taste, that might be why he’s not as well-known as he should be. Seeing him live for the first time I found his onstage awkwardness and bizarre look at life perfectly balanced.

Inventive, intelligent, fast-paced; I’d definitely add him to my list of must-see stand-ups.

Poety and police archivist Malcolm Head, who opened the show, is one to watch. Armed with a ring-binder full of emergency ripostes should a heckler strike, he was self-deprecating but confident. I could’ve played age bingo all night.

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The Avenue, home to Red Rose Chain, is a great venue for live comedy.

Comedians James Campbell and Mitch Benn are next to appear. Campbell will perform his comedy show for kids aged six-plus at 2pm, November 1. Musician,

comedian and author Benn is known for his comedy rock songs performed on BBC radio. He performs on November 20.

Wayne Savage

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