Alan Davies at the Colston Hall – 5/10
COMEDIAN Alan Davies brought his Life Is Pain tour to the Colston Hall – his first foray back into stand-up comedy after a decade hiatus, during which time he has made a name for himself on television with the likes of QI and Jonathan Creek.
Getting off to a somewhat shaky start with the first 10 minutes spent engaging in vague crowd banter centred around where various audience members had travelled from (and eaten) that night, Davies soon began to work through his set.
Certainly not raising as many laughs as his contemporaries do in the same venue, the first half of the gig seemed to lack overall direction and substance – although his cynical attack on Facebook and the philosophies behind 'poking' did begin to coax the relatively subdued audience out of their shells towards the end.
After the interval the material became significantly stronger, and saw many well-constructed and entertaining moments. With more than a hint of Grumpy Old Men about it, the troubles of growing older and observations on modern society were key talking points discussed with personal anecdotes. Whist still lacking a little flow between ideas, Davies definitely began to impress more as time went on.
However, it did seem that his time away from the live scene might have had an effect on his abilities to interact and engage with a crowd rather than just recount pre-written jokes. As charismatic and effervescent as his personality may be, the gig never really felt like it lived up to expectations.
The biggest laugh of the evening came from an impression of the General Ignorance siren from QI – "I go to sleep dreaming that noise. This is my show; nobody gives me negative points out here!"
It has to be asked, if it weren't for the fact that Davies is now a TV personality, would he be worthy of playing a venue this size with his current material? I have my doubts.