Paul Foot @ The Stand, Glasgow, 8 Oct
Dissolve is a multifaceted, uplifting show about recovery that invites its audiences to revel in its conclusion
Paul Foot’s new hour Dissolve, which he debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August, forays into a style of comedy that’s a touch more personal than anyone familiar with his previous work might expect. But, whether you’re already a fan or not, you’d be hard pressed to leave without having had your cup filled by the emotional journey he takes you on. And fear not: he’s still his usual frenetic, weird self. Just slightly more reflective.
In the 20 minutes before Dissolve starts proper, the uninitiated are given an enthusiastic feel for Foot, through what he describes as some of his favourite material from previous shows. Here, his ‘disturbances’ – his disturbed thoughts – inject a delicious chaos into material which is already hilariously off-the-wall.
As the show begins (honourable mention to the fantastic blue boiler suit he now parades around in), Foot shares a strange story about a bird, acknowledging it as the contrived but necessary metaphor for a more serious hour. By the close of the hour, its use is totally justified, though still self-aware in its silliness.
Put simply, Dissolve is a show about mental illness, trauma and recovery. It comes with a content warning, and Foot deliberates carefully over the reveal. He tackles big stuff with gusto – picking apart society’s hatred of change, challenging perceptions of mental illness, and offering up his idea of a revolution with a wink and a nudge. His ‘disturbances’ make a reappearance at an opportune time, granting us (and maybe himself) some relief. But it’s also a multifaceted hour: one moment you’re absorbed in his fascinating story, and the next you’re laughing your head off.
Despite the pain at the heart of this show, Dissolve is a journey of healing. Foot doesn’t ask for pity. He wants you to revel in the release from pain. Taken in the right way, the result is an almost euphoric hour that you’ll be thinking about long afterwards.