Alan Davies — Life is Pain
Friday, December 2
Life is Pain - the title of Alan Davies' stand-up show - brings to mind, according to the man himself, a lecture that culminates in suicide.
True, the name does not promise a lot of laughs but anyone who has seen the mischievous Davies in his regular television turns will know not to expect too much seriousness.
Happily, his sold-out performances at the Astor Theatre at the weekend featured no lecturing, no untimely death and no disappointments.
Davies, best known in Australia for his recent appearances on the panel show QI on ABC TV and as a character actor, notably quirky private investigator Jonathan Creek, has returned to his roots on the stand-up stage after a break of 10 years.
With Perth at the end of his Australian run, he had time to hone his routine but he still projected a freshness and enthusiasm.
He adopted a relaxed style as he chatted across a wide range of subjects, from the heat and remoteness of Perth to his wrong- side-of-the-tracks upbringing in Essex in the 1970s and 80s. Some of the humour of the Englishman-abroad variety had a certain predictability but his delivery was smart and assured.
He cut a bewildered figure as he told of his struggles as a father of small children and as a 45-year-old trying to make sense of a world that had all but left him behind with his lack of enthusiasm for mobile phones and social networking.
Some astute observations about the 24-hour television news phenomenon were mixed with tales of his drinking exploits, including being thrown out of a pub for laughing, and how the recent riots in England served as a helpful warm-up to next year's London Olympics.
But it was in revisiting his childhood, and his relationship with his father and grandfather, that we saw some more personal glimpses of Davies. His stories of his school days as someone who didn't quite fit in had a real poignancy.
When Davies was in Perth with the QI stage show six weeks ago, he was struggling with a heavy chest infection. He was still showing the signs of that on the weekend and it was to his credit that he got through both national tours in fine form and fine humour.
But it was in revisiting his childhood… that we saw some more personal glimpses.