A recent stranger to the stand-up stage, Alan Davies has returned from his decade-long sabbatical with new gig Life is Pain. Our favourite QI star was met by the whistles and wails of delighted fans as he sauntered onto the Hackney Empire’s stage last night. He did not disappoint.
Covering the seven stages of man, Davies’ performance had the subterranean structure of Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage”. Infancy, childhood, university years (lover), breaking into acting (soldier), fatherhood, his own father (justice) and his Parkinson-stricken grandfather (sans everything) were intertwined in a routine that, as its title suggested, covered all of life.
In a Benjamin Button-esque turn-around, Davies’ performance got off to a slow start, but progressively gained both energy and rhythm. By the second half he was unstoppable. Stilted interactions with the audience and lukewarm anecdotes about his school uniform, an eclipse and lesbian drama students were replaced with a brilliant skit on the modern-day telephone user, the obsession with plastic surgery sweeping the nation and most notably, a side-stitching interpretation of what babies would actually be saying if their screams could be translated.
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