With a style of comedy as peculiar and individual as his haircut, Foot has the potential to either baffle, annoy or mesmerise his audience, depending on who’s in. Tonight’s audience for this compendium of “greatest hits” seem up for it, which is just as well; this isn’t one for lovers of the one-liner.
A fair chunk of the evening is spent on the off-stage introduction. From the darkness, Foot begins the usual “please welcome to the stage” spiel, only to drag it out interminably for effect. Then, just as he acknowledges it’s getting awkward, he hits us with another reason for keeping it going. At length, when he does emerge, it’s only to tell us how to welcome him to the stage when he’s ready, using surreal analogies of the precise amounts of laughter he wants. It’s an inventive and subversive way of playing with the boundaries of a comedy gig; it’s also half the gig itself. As an audience member, you just roll with it.
There’s much pouncing on the audience, delivering bizarre musings into their face or ear. By the time anything resembling traditional from-the-stage material arrives, the gig’s deliberately nearly done. His “glimpses” – snatches of scenarios, jokes without punchlines – are a little hit and miss. But it’s all rolling to a great climax. A kid’s toy is used as an indicator to tell him whether he should speak straight English, gibberish or a mix of the two, and is passed to an audience member, leaving them in control. It sets up a wonderfully odd finish, as Foot delivers the pronouncement about showbiz he’s been threatening to do throughout.
He’s an acquired taste for sure, and this assemblage of old routines may play better with long-term fans, but once you’re in his mindset, Foot is entertainingly original.