FESTIVAL 0W LATE
Shaggy of perm and shaggier of story, Alan Davies is the new president of the Ramblers’ Association (outgoing chief: Mr E. Izzard). Ian Watson hitches a ride along comedy’s lesser- known byways, to Cannes.
Alan Davies has always approached comedy from an unusual angle. When he started out in the late 80s. the nasally-voiced Essex boy with the ﬂoppy hair ignored the trend for political one-liners and developed a rambling routine about his dad‘s pants. Last year. while the other Perrier nominees spent three days nervously awaiting the panel's decision. he was busy pretending to be a timeshare salesman in the centre of Edinburgh. ‘1 auditioned for my new TV show in Princes Street Garden with a Super 8 video camera and I got thejob.‘ he says. ‘So I wasn‘t upset about not winning the Perrier Award. because i knew I was going to Norway to make a comedy programme. and it turned out to be the experience of a lifetime.‘
The show in question is Channel 4‘s ()ne For The Road. in which Davies plays a timeshare salesman — Simon's the name — who tours around Europe with a camcorder. No great deal there. you'd think. but on his travels Simon
just happens to win a million pounds in Monte Carlo. get attacked by machine gun-toting maniacs in the Alps. and snogs a beautiful girl by the Dead Sea. ‘The writer obviously has a fantasy about snogging girls. so I got to grapple with a few actresses.‘ beams Davies. ‘In one episode. I become involved with a glamorous journalist and it turns out she‘s a drug runner and I‘m shot at in a parachute. We have some body builders with real machine guns. and thank God they didn't have bullets. because they were going mad.
‘I also drove a Ferrari around Cannes. which was the highlight ofmy year. We had a police escort. pretending we'd just won a million quid. and someone came out saying. “be quiet. we're making a film.“ We laughed and said we were from Channel 4. but it turned
Alan Davies: mirth ot a salesman
out they were with Kevin Kline. So I had 60 seconds left in the Ferrari. I could have wept.‘
Davies says he booked a limited Festival run this year because he didn't want to cash in on 1994‘s success. ‘It is tempting to come back with last year's show because l'd make several thousand pounds.‘ he admits. ‘But i think it should really be against the rules. i remember coming up in 1992 and it was a total eye opener. Jack Dee was getting 500 people a night and l was pulling twenty and Jack asked me ifl wanted to usher for him. I said. “What?” And he said. “Well. it's the only way you're ever going to fill a theatre".' Oh. happy days.
I Alan Davies (Fringe) Alan Davies. Queen‘s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019. 24 and 25 Aug. l0.30pm. £8 (£6).
Fish Heads And gals
Theatre du Pit: Jacques ot all trades
Belgium has never exactly been a Mecca of popular culture. Think Johnny Iialliday, Plastic Bertrand, Asterlx-creator Gosciny (or was it llderzo?) and, er, that’s it. The songs of Jacques Brel, though, have topped pop charts worldwide - Scott Walker, David Bowie, Marc Almond, Goodbye Mr Mackenzie and even The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, all have had a pop at emulating Brel’s torchin Gallic grandeur. ilow comes a series oi dramatic episodes inspired by Brel’s work and presented by Edinburgh- based internationalists Theatre du Pit. ‘ltle don’t have a narrative’, says Sean Curran, who along with partner Bonni Chan terms the core of Theatre du Pit. ’It’s not pure interpretation either. Rather, we’ve tried to keep the essential ﬂavour of the work and take ott trom there. Some ot Brel’s songs were so dark and passionate, while others were very light and cynical. We
try to do the same, using dance, drama and clowning to get things across.’
The show was tirst previewed in Hong Kong, where two Chinese actresses signed up tor the duration. With a Norwegian pianist and a long section in original Chinese, will this cultural overload not be a problem tor linguistically-lazy Angiophiles
‘lt’s good for an audience to only get bits. The show’s got a charm you don’t have to intellectualise about. We’ve a piece taken trom ‘Song of The Old lovers’, which looks at all the extreme emotions encountered in a . relationship. in ilong Kong some of the older people watching came up and said, “I understand. My marriage is like that." ’ (Neil Cooper)
Fish Heads And Tells (Fringe) Theatre Du Pit, Theatre Workshop (Venue 20) 225 5425, until 26 Aug (not 20) 10.15pm, £5 (£3).
Been bombarded with tlyers and propaganda, top tips and press clips, hype and hyperbole? liae luck. iiere’s Craig McLean with some more.
I Phil Kay The man with no-plan and his wonderfully woolly walkabouts. For the Queen’s Hall shows Mr Kay asks that punters bring along something sports-related.
I’hil Kay (Fringe). Queen 's Hall (Venue 72) 668 20/9 . l8 Aug—23 Aug. [0.30pm. £8 (£6).
Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 215/ , 27Aug—2 Sept. 11.30pm. £6.50 (£5.50). I Cate Graffiti Cabaret The venue — a cavernous and ornate old church — would be worth the ticket price alone. As it is. Cafe Graffiti also offers nightly star turns. live music. a club in the catacombs. and a cybercafe in the electronic ether.
Cafe Grafﬁti Cabaret (Fringe). Mansﬁeld Place Church (Venue 90) 557 8330. until 3 Sept. I 0pm(approx), £8/£6 (£6/£5).
I The Big Value Comedy Show Four unknown stand-ups brought to us by ‘the man who discovered Eddie lzzard'. Details on the individual styles of Adam Bloom. David Hadingham. Milton Jones and compere Andrew Pipe are thin on the ground (admit it. you haven 't seen the show — ed) but instinct. gut reaction and something in the air all say: big thumbs up. So go. The Big Value Comedy Show (Fringe) Screaming Blue Murder. Cafe Royal (Venue 47) 556 2549, until 2 Sept. 10.25pm. £6.50 (£5.50).
l The Best 0t So You Think You’re Funny The stand-up world‘s New Faces brings us some of its past winners. including Phil Kay. Rhona Cameron. Dylan Moran and last year's champ Martin Trenaman.
The Best Of So You Think You 're Funny (Fringe). Gilded Balloon (Venue 38) 226 215]. 17—19 Aug. 24-2 Sept. 10.15pm. £6 (£5).
l Murray Lachlan Young Tousled. rafﬁsh. urbane poet whose seedy- underbelly~and-all-that epic ‘Simply Everyone Is Taking Cocaine' recently
won over the fried masses at Glastonbury and T In The Park. Puts
the ‘verse' in controversial (kinda). Murray Lachlan Young (Fringe). Demarco Foundation ( Venue 22) 558 3371.21—26 Aug. llpm.
The List 18-24 Aug 1995 63