Karen Koren: Alan’s back on familiar ground

Alan Davies at the Carnegie Hall.
Alan Davies at the Carnegie Hall.
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We had Alan Davies on at Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline with Scott Gibson as part of the That’s Fife Festival, which the Gilded Balloon is organising during April.

Alan flew up specially to do the gig, I picked him up at his hotel and we drove to Dunfermline. Alan first worked at the Gilded Balloon in 1991, so we go way back. He did his first full hour in 1994 in the Gilded Balloon Studio in the Cowgate. He was reminiscing, saying what a great year that was for him.

Fred MacAulay was on after him and Phil Kay was doing his first hour before him. He was nominated for a Perrier Award that year and also won the Edinburgh Festival Critics Award for Comedy.

Alan started playing the title role of Jonathan Creek in 1997 and won a Bafta for Best Drama for the show. He is now taking some time out from live work and is about to start recording the second series of sitcom Damned for Channel 4 with Jo Brand. Jo is an old friend of Alan’s and he says it’s a joy to work with her.

He has never forgotten his comic roots and he still loves performing stand-up to a live audience. Sarah Brown, Gordon Brown’s wife, came to see him, with their son, and came backstage to visit Alan. Sarah brought Gordon Brown’s book as a present with a message in it saying, “In admiration”, which was sweet. Alan has been a member of the Labour Party for more than 30 years.

The show was not too political, although Alan wanted to know from the audience their thoughts on Brexit and the referendum. There was animated response from the Dunfermline audience, so much so that Alan hardly understood the various dialects, so proceeded to compare the different parts of Fife from Lochgelly and Kirkcaldy to Glenrothes.

It was a lovely evening and on the way back to Alan’s hotel, he mentioned that he is studying for a Masters degree in creative writing and he will not be performing live for at least the next few years. It was lucky then for those who saw him live – it will be the last time for a while.

n Karen Koren is artistic director of the Gilded Balloon