For those who love a bit of weird and wacky comedy of a night time then check out Paul Foot in his new 60 minute show Hovercraft Symphony in Gammon # Major at the Hi Fi Bar.
Quite a large stage space that was nearly full to capacity for the Thursday night crowd who were feeling energised and ready for a good night after being accommodated at the great bar upstairs. Having started his stand up career over 20 years in Oxford, UK, Foot is no stranger to Melbourne fans having been a nominee for the MICF Barry Award in 2011 and 2012, and has indeed been working his way around the nation with his outrageous brand of humour for the last few years at a range of festivals, including winning Best International Act in Sydney and Perth last year.
Foot’s style is definitely unique; think perhaps the lovechild of Basil Fawlty meets Monty Python with a dash of The Young Ones. His frenetic, screechy voice takes you on a twisted journey which doesn’t lead to anywhere, but then doesn’t intend to either. His segment begins with a 20 minute set of not officially starting by sharing what he has cut from the show including how to annoy a bed and breakfast lady, how a scotch finger can ruin a S&M orgy party and his agent’s preference for not going through with his audience member mount (which he did proceed to do twice). Once we are officially off there comes 13 rapid fire gags ranging from gussets, the benefits of the ABBA essential collection, to cauliflower babies and poking fun at royalty. His hyperactive manner ensures there is no time to breathe or dwindle too long on his illogical thinking or sequencing, but as Foot said at one point “don’t try to find meaning, there isn’t any”. Some moments the laughs were spontaneously appreciative, others required him to take the crowd on a journey until the witty punch line, some jokes feel flat and others seemed suited to the crazy bizarre funny bone of those in the crowd. Clever word use came through his 9 word story images which were sharp and insightfully humourous.
Physically, Foot struts through his set with almost shambolic ranting combined with drawing out words for humourous effect and kicking and jerking for his and our own thrill. His constant reference to his handwritten notes and menu give the sense that he is freshly improvising what we see, but his decades long career suggests he is exactly sure of what he is doing and that is, through entertaining himself, he seeks to entertain others. This kind of approach is perhaps not totally original but his process is indeed compelling and intriguing that seemed to have many, especially the blokes in the house, chuckling, snorting and applauding at the end. A show for those who have an acquired taste of the energetically absurd.