The five minutes of storming diva-funk which preludes Paul Foot's Comedy For Connoisseurs suggest the coming of a striding Bond, backed by Bassey and ready to make funny. Yet with Foot's arrival, and the slow murmuring of his first apology, comes the realisation that the soundtrack doesn't quite match the man.
Foot is awkward and wriggling - a fey comedian with flowing cavalier locks and a polyester dinner suit. His material is observational and light: he discusses Sudoku, firemen and, with limited success, links existentialist dilemmas with living rooms. Little attempt is made to associate his narratives thematically as the bulk of his set involves a sort of faltering analysis - of the audience’s reactions, of the mood in the theatre, of his frequent mime sequences - in a delivery best described as flamboyant anti-comedy. Painfully aware of his audience, Foot uses interaction to provoke excessive helpings of pathos. He’s likeable, but a reliance upon pitying self-study and an acerbic spiel about sexual mores, later followed by a rather bungling admission of his own homosexuality, arouse unease, not laughter. The material is funny at times, but Foot is at his best when making uncanny remarks to the simpering couple in the front row. Approach him as you would your tipsy, passive-aggressive uncle who just won’t stop flouncing around.