Liverpool Comedy Festival: Greg Davies, Empire Theatre

By Alan Parry
Tue 03 October, 2017

Greg Davies brought his You Magnificent Beast tour to Liverpool Comedy Festival, and Alan Parry found a man with the energy of a man half his age. 

When I grow old, I think I just may wear purple. But, more than this, I hope I manage to cling onto a youthfulness in much the same way that Greg Davies has managed.

The Taskmaster star may well be carrying around half a century’s worth of bodily abuse with him, something which his Mother regularly points out keenly, “Go and lift up your shirt and look in the full-length mirror” she tells him; but the joy and energy he displays on stage is like that of a man ten, twenty, thirty years younger even.

What is perhaps most pleasing is that Davies is seemingly just happy to be alive and able to entertain us. Many of his peers try so hard to be funny and likeable, and the fun seems to go AWOL, but such is Davies’ talent, and delivery that everything he does appears to be effortless.

As is often the case in comedy, Davies looks to exploit his foibles for comedic effect. More than that, he exploits those of all the people closest to him, so much so, that he was furious when his father passed away. “Can I afford to lose such a rich stream of comedy?” must have been one of his immediate thoughts. It turns out he could.

On our behalf, Davies ponders our place in life, how we will be remembered; what people actually think of us; and does any of it really matter? And he concludes that there is great comedy to be found in life, and in death. Subsequently he tells an adorably cute, poignant and laugh-out-loud story about how his mother allowed for his father to piss in a bottle on his deathbed, but only one with a wide neck and handle.

As is par for the course, we are treated to an array of utterly pathetic impressions and voices, which includes a drunken Bristolian woman with bloody stumps for hands, but the accuracy of these is forgiven as Davies makes it clear that the only thing which matters in life is that we try not to be a dick. It is definitely okay to be silly.

You Magnificent Beast is at least in part, a tribute to and/or celebration of his father, who was brought to life so wonderfully by Rik Mayall in Davies’ hit television series Man Down and the show concludes with an utterly hilarious, and damn right outrageous recorded performance from a Welsh choir of a folk song his Dad taught him as a child.

Much of the show (as is probably to be expected) is built around the things his mother says and does, so if you’re familiar with his live work then this is very much more of the same in that regard. But this formula works, so why change it? He does warn at the outset however, that if you only know his work as Ken in Cuckoo, it may be best you leave as things could get a little naughty, and on this he does not disappoint.

It is then unfortunate that at one point, Davies strays a little too close to comfort to an old Billy Connolly routine about how the body changes as we age, and just what is to come which may require long nasal hair, or indeed thick fingernails, but I can say that this was my solitary criticism of a thoroughly enjoyable ninety minutes.

Davies continues his tour around the UK concluding in December in Bristol, and the tickets may well be difficult to come by as the reviews flood in. I will say, if you get the opportunity to see him, grab it now with both hands. I can see him going on to work larger venues in the future as his reputation continues to grow and perhaps some of the atmosphere will be lost then. This is a man, who for my money has the world at his feet.

  • Image: Greg Davies’ Facebook page