Theatrically interesting in the most accessible of ways, Paul F Taylor opens the show in the guise of an infomercial, claiming to be taking pills that cure him of his comedy lifestyle and make him more “serious”. The dead pan, loud, intentionally two-dimensional character is performed beautifully, with a commitment to the role that instantly has the crowd in stitches. As the pills run out, it is as though the show itself is growing, hulk-like, out of Taylor. A smooth transformation occurs from character to comedian persona, through brilliantly ridiculous physicality and a clever costume change, never faltering in energy.
The entire show existed as an entity without introduction or a goodbye speech – a self-contained piece of theatricality that was truly a show rather than a collection of jokes.
The bulk of the show built steadily, beginning with short one-liners and gag heavy whimsical jokes, developing into set pieces that were almost sketches in form. Hyper-energetic and punchy, Taylor constructs the show brick by brick until something is created that is greater than the sum of its parts. Employing characters with a perfectly pitched mix of dramatic skill and off the cuff, audience focused energy, Taylor tight roped the line between stand up and sketch - impressions of vending machines, welsh cats and dogs that look like their owners were performed with a delightful facial dexterity and an impressive range of voices.
At times the show relied a little heavily on self-aware comedic tricks to end jokes where punchlines were weak. The inclusion of a robot character that pointed out when a bit had trailed off (even when the jokes had played to raucous laughter) highlighted downfalls unnecessarily, needlessly diminishing faith in Taylor as a performer. However, this criticism only serves to prove that the show was strong enough that this device was rendered unnecessary.
The show built to a crescendo, tying up all the loose ends, and the sketch with which Taylor ended the show was impressive in it’s simplicity and incredibly funny, making a nice use of props, and providing a bucket speech that didn’t patronise. The entire show existed as an entity without introduction or a goodbye speech – a self-contained piece of theatricality that was truly a show rather than a collection of jokes.