Paul F Taylor: Sour Apes

Paul F Taylor is a man who does not back down in the face of adversity. Adversity, in this case, being a roomful of soggy festival-goers on a Wednesday afternoon, not quite sure what to make of his extended routine about easily misinterpreted mime gestures. Taylor seems to enjoy going down comedy dead-ends, searching for laughs in a feverish manner. His show frequently derails, but it’s remarkable how often he manages to get the audience back on his side with some big laughs, punctuating the nervous ones.

There are a lot of gags to go through, so it doesn’t matter if some don’t land. Taylor is always great at rescuing a bad joke with a look that tells us he is enjoying himself anyway. He ploughs on regardless, using his manic energy and character work to make sure there’s not a dull moment.

The show is called Sour Apes, which is a good excuse for some A-Grade simian-based humour, but also hints at Taylor’s angry side. There is a through-line concerning his place in comedy; he wants to be a mainstream comic, get on telly and enjoy a reliable source of income, but he is far too reckless and harebrained to achieve that level of fame. Equally, he is too peculiar to thrive on the club circuit. Whether he’s genuine about his ambitions or not, the whole show comes together at the end with a great pay-off, showing off his flair for the bizarre and ridiculous. Daft, but great fun.

★★★★

Stuart Addison

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