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24 September 2014
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First night - 15.01.03
Auntie and Me
Relative values: Alan Davies stars in the black comedy Auntie and Me
spacer From stand-up to popular sleuth in the TV series Jonathan Creek - Alan Davies now takes on the West End. Our critic Mark Shenton was there...

For more THEATRE reviews click here

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SEE ALSO
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video VIDEO:

Alan Davies talks to BBC London Entertainment reporter Amanda Hussain

Entertainment reporter Amanda Hussain goes behind the scenes to talk to Alan Davies
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(3,617 Kb/ 02'10")
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FACT FILE
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Comics on the boards:

dotEddie Izzard has been forging a productive career as a stage actor, in plays as diverse as Mamet's The Cryptogram, the title role in Lenny (about another comic, Lenny Bruce) and most recently the now Broadway-bound revival of Peter Nichols' A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

dotJack Dee, Frank Skinner and Sean Hughes variously did stints in Art - before the League of Gentlemen, all appearing together, closed the show earlier this month

dotDawn French returns to the theatrical stage at the Apollo in a one-woman play, My Brilliant Divorce, opening on 24 February

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LINKS
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Alan Davies Unofficial site
(The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites)

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Auntie and Me (Wyndham's Theatre)

Stand-up comics taking to the boards in plays is nothing new (see our Fact File alongside); but the joy and surprise of seeing Alan Davies in his straight stage debut in this mordantly, bleakly funny play is to realise just how completely natural he is.

Davies plays one of nature's loners and losers, a bank clerk who has no friends or libido.

Duty

"The doleful puppy dog that is his natural person stands him in good stead..."

But he has a sense of duty when it comes to an ageing aunt he's not seen for 30 years which propels him to drop everything and travel 200 miles to visit her when he receives a letter from her saying that she is dying.

The only problem is that when he arrives, she stubbornly refuses to die.

As he patiently at first, and then increasingly impatiently, waits for her to pop her clogs, he exasperatedly tells her: "I'm worried about your health; it seems to be improving".

Meanwhile, she knits compulsively: "This knitting of yours," he enquires of her, "Is it a long-term project?"

Darker

But just when Morris Panych's play seems like it is going to consist entirely of variations on one joke, it delves beneath its apparently slight surface to deliver something deeper and darker about the nature of loneliness and companionship, while also revealing Davies's character's deeply dysfunctional upbringing.

The doleful puppy dog that is his natural persona - his face topped by that trademark mop of curly dark hair - stands him in good stead for this affecting play.

Margaret TyzackBrilliant, too, is Margaret Tyzack in the virtually silent role of the aunt.

Auntie and Me plays at the Wyndham's Theatre, Charing Cross Road WC2. Tel: 020 7369 1736

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