A parent’s night out in Corsham to see the bonkers comedy of Paul Foot

This was something new for us – a comedy night out at Pound Arts in Corsham. We’d been across to Pound Arts for all sorts of other events, from children’s craft sessions to cinema, art exhibitions and lunch in the cafe, and they had always been a great success. Pound Arts is one of those venues where the staff are welcoming, the events well-created and the facilities excellent. There’s even free parking!

However, this was a first for us – a night out at Pound Arts without the children for a Friday evening treat of grown-up comedy and a glass of local beer for the non-driver (the coffee’s excellent too!). Paul Foot might not be in the ranks of the best-known of the UK’s mainstream comedians, despite being a former BBC Comedian of the Year and appearances of Never Mind The Buzzcocks and, yes, even Richard and Judy, but then, once you watch him live, you can see why.

Paul Foot’s style isn’t jokes and stories about his family, rather it’s a bonkers, totally unpredictable journey into areas of everyday life that somehow shouldn’t be that funny but, in his hands, are. The first taster of Paul’s style is the off-stage introduction to his warm-up guy, the superb Matthew Head. Rather then a standard, “Ladies and gentlemen, here you are, the excellent Matthew Head,” the audience is treated to an extended introduction to how wonderful it is be in Corsham, the facilities available at Pound Arts and the chance of a discount for Tuesday bookings, if booked on a Tuesday using an impossible to remember code. No, you’re right, it doesn’t sound that funny, but it was superb – completely unexpected and hilarious.

Following an interval after the warm-up and another lengthy off-stage intro, this time for himself, Paul Foot is on, bad clothes, bonkers hair-cut and bags of energy as well. What is his show like? Well, it’s very daft, utterly different to anything else and extremely funny. Over the next hour and a bit, we’re introduced to Paul’s rambling reflections on arranging a dislike of the royal family, organising an suburban orgy, the Falkland’s war and 1980’s snooker stars. Somehow, we brings each of the subjects together, with apparently the likes of Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan being ideal guests for a suburban orgy. Who’d have thought it?

A word of warning here – if you’re in the first few rows of the audience, there’s a good chance you’ll also be part of the show, with Paul clambering over seats and pushing down the rows of chairs to pounce of likely victims who, to be fair on this occasion, all joined in willingly with the humour.

Quite honestly, ten minutes into Paul on stage and I wasn’t quite sure if I was fully enjoying it. Another ten one and I was loving it. He doesn’t tell jokes and the monologues are just, well, bonkers. It’s his character that makes it all work, a kind of cross between Dudley Moore and Peter Cook, but unique at the same time. You can’t help wondering if it’s all an act or he really is like that…

The monologues and audience participation are broken up with occasional silences, with Paul grinning inanely and almost daring the audience to feel confused, before launching off again into his surreal views on life.

Once the main show finished, there was just time for a encore of sorts in the foyer of Pound Arts, with Paul hanging around to meet and greet the audience and pose for selfies (yes, I did get one!), all of which added to a hugely enjoyable first grown-up night out at a wonderful venue in Corsham. For Bath parents, the drive out only takes half an hour tops, while for families across West Wiltshire, it remains a great venue to check out for any number of upcoming productions. We’re already planning our next visit.

poundarts.org.uk