HERE’S a rare picture of comedian Alan Davies (that’s him on the left, hiding under the covers). It’s from a student production of Enchanted Night by Slawomir Mrozek in March 1986 at what was then known as the University of Kent at Canterbury. I know this because I was the director. Taught him everything he knows, I did.
Anyway, this morning’s news is Davies is returning to stand-up for the first time in the UK for more than ten years with a run on the Edinburgh Fringe at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. He’s already been touring the show, Life is Pain, in Australia according to this report in the Scotsman.
In his pre-Jonathan Creek and pre-QI days, Davies was one of the brightest stand-ups on the circuit, with a free-ranging conversational style that endeared him to audiences. He was very funny in a way that many of the most spontaneous comedians are. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s captured the old stand-up spirit when he returns in the summer.
The early announcement of such a big TV name – alongside Jimmy Carr, Jason Byrne and Rhod Gilbert at the same venue – reminds you that the Fringe operates on all scales, whether it’s Davies playing to 1200 a night or a first-time student company pleased to get an audience of double figures. As The Edinburgh Fringe Survival Guide shows, it’s a significant part of the calendar for artists at all stages of their careers and once you’ve got a taste for it, you can’t stop yourself coming back.