Ensconced in an inflatable dome, in the children’s area of the Pleasance, bravely struggling through a voice ravaged by cold and flyering, Jay Foreman does not have an easy job of it. The fact that he succeeds so overwhelmingly is a testament to his skill.
Whether it’s all a performance or just down to his natural charm, Foreman manages to be thoroughly engaging and amusing at all times. Also, the fact that he can, at a second’s notice, transpose all of his vocal material down almost an entire octave to account for his temporary croak, only highlights his musicality.
The choice to volunteer for the beanbag seats at the front of the venue is a wise one as No More Colours takes the form of a series of storytime-surrealism, observational comedy songs strung together by a little laid-back banter. Opening on ‘Grandma’s Food’, an ode to pensioners’ obscure grocery brands, Foreman leads easily onto the subject of cars to introduce the gloriously odd ‘Caterpillar Sick’ before leading onto ‘Poor James Bond’, ‘Favourite Son’ and ‘Barry Cryer’.
There’s a theme throughout the show of Foreman’s self-claimed misanthropy but his cheerfulness throughout means it never quite rings true and his talent and winning manner mean it’s not really necessary. Amongst the amiably amusing musical ramblings are moments of brilliance. ‘Every Tube Station’ is exactly what it sounds like – the entire tube map arranged by rhythm and rhyme and simply has to be heard to be believed. Likewise, the show’s title track provides a moment of genuinely beautiful and uplifting thought (despite, claims Foreman, his attempts to make it as miserable as possible).
Foreman’s storybook style of song does make for little variation in tone and a few of the songs are so surreal that you feel they only really make sense to the performer. Yet overall there’s a lovely mood to this show. His unassuming optimism and self-effacing humour will leave you with a warm glow and a smile on your face. Glorious stuff.