Monday, 23 March 2015

Alan Davies Little Victories Tour, The Sands Centre, Carlisle

Last week my friend Jayne and I went to The Sands in Carlisle to see Alan Davies in his Little Victories tour. When he came on stage he was just as I imagined, warm, informal and having the ability to just chat to the audience like we were friends, all with a youthfulness about him that belied his 49 years. Initially he interacted a lot with the crowd, finding out where people were from (someone had come all the way from Birmingham, must be a superfan!) and he also asked about the ages of people which surprisingly ranged from teenagers to people in their 80's.
He talked a lot about his family. His mother died from leukaemia when he was six leaving his father to bring up Alan and his younger sister and older brother. Much of the early part of the show dealt with his fraught relationship with his father. Sometimes the honesty of it was very moving, yet not sentimental, and often very funny, not easy to meld together, but Alan managed this brilliantly. One of the anecdotes was that his dad loved every kind of jam except blackcurrant. So when the home help his father had hired was making a cake for Alan's father's birthday Alan told her to put blackcurrant jam in it because his dad like it. When his dad tasted it he exploded with anger and Alan got one of his "little victories" over his father. Another thing that made the talk of his father more poignant was that he is now suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
After examining his own childhood he discussed his own role as a father and trials and tribulations of raising young children (he has two children aged four and five) a lot. Not having children of my own I couldn't relate to much of this, but that aside, some of it was still very funny, especially when he talked of his daughter swearing for the first time and his son pretending to choke to get attention. It was clear most of the audience fully related to the highs and lows of bringing up children that he related.
He also talked about being taken out of his school where he was happy and sent to a public school that his own father had attended and which Alan hated. He was the youngest at the school and more interested in toys than the more adolescent pursuits of the youths around him. But again, he brings humour to this in his own inimitable way and had the audience roaring with laughter.
The show lasted almost two and a half hours, and you can only admire someone who can do stand up for that long. It all felt very natural and unscripted, which of course it would not have been, but his professionalism made it feel that way.  All in all it was a excellent night and it does us all the world of good to have a laugh and Alan certainly gave us plenty of them!