Greg Davies: Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog, Pleasance Courtyard
Thursday 12 August 2010
As part of the successful sketch group We Are Klang, the stout figure of Greg Davies often joked that he looks like "a fat Rik Mayall". Now flying solo it transpires that Davies's verbal flourishes could equally be likened to Mayall's character Lord Flashheart in Blackadder, and indeed to Blackadder himself. As he is aged 40, it's little wonder that Davies's style owes something to the voices of early to mid "alternative comedy", the Ben Elton era, but that doesn't mean that the 6'8" comedian isn't down with the kids. He used to teach them after all, both in real life and as Mr Gilbert on the E4 comedy series The Inbetweeners.
Davies's teaching skills (he taught drama) come in handy tonight when he has to deal with a few over-exuberant revellers. "That kind of casual racism would be entirely acceptable where I am from in Shropshire," he says to one of the front row Charlies, smiling and tying the gentle put-down into the context of his life story, a story that he tells in this show as moments of "total immersion" where life is defined with no thought to the future or the past.
The titular jumping-off point refers to an episode where, on holiday, Davies tried to shift a very reluctant dog from the path of his car by catapulting cheeseballs at his nose with the help of fellow Klang member Marek Larwood. The sheer ludicrousness of this moment is echoed at various other points in his life. To illustrate this he helpfully sections off his 40 years into suitable portions. Only the period of 18-21 is left behind, as he says (and writes on a blackboard – old habits die hard evidently): "Drunk. Pathetic. Single. That's university dealt with."
The period between the ages of 21 and 33 is the most significant – when Davies made "the worst decision ever made and became a teacher". In this section he confesses to leading drama games where his career malaise would be part of the narrative and he describes teaching lunatic kids like Marwood, who, he claims, wanted to be either a train driver or a gynaecologist. When pressed he puffed: "At the end of the day I just like tunnels."
Some of Davies's stories seem just too oddball to be true – for example, finding his mother gulping water from a hosepipe because she had just inexplicably swallowed some petrol – but Davies weaves a magnificent web. Fact or fiction, he sells the whole show, frequently leaving you helpless with laughter.
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