Alan Davies – Life is Pain: Fringe Review

alandaviesA Stand-Up Guy


The star of Jonathan Creek and QI returns to the stage in his first foray into the world of stand-up since 2001. Despite the lengthy absence, Alan Davies seemed at home in front of the packed EICC audience. Most people know Davies for his TV work, yet it was in the world of stand-up that he made his name.

After initially taking a while to settle into the rhythm of the show, it is not long before Davies delighted the audience with a selection of anecdotes largely focused on his married life. The boyish charm and endearing honesty that make him such a popular TV personality is here continued in a show that, whilst not always hilarious, is perfectly pleasant.

Finally at an age where he feels he can justify being on stage, the 46-year-old has honed the necessary life experiences to legitimise being a comedian. Comparisons between the past and the present offered many avenues for laughter, including a lengthy spiel concerning the advent of social media and a hilarious, if somewhat brash, impression of modern porn.

The show’s title, taken from the Buddhist teaching that life is suffering, is made understandable when he touched on the topic of his mother’s death when he was very young. The obvious trauma that this caused and the subsequent difficulty he found living with his father added a serious tone to the otherwise silly performance.

A show that establishes its footing only towards its closing moments, the lack of consistently funny material begs the question as to whether it is worth the steep ticket price. However, for established fans of Davies, it is arguably worth seeing just to distinguish the real man from the TV personality.

Taken from Broadway Baby, published Aug 2012.

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