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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy someone is keeping his memory alive
Anyone concerned that this book has appeared rather too soon after Dave Allen`s death need not worry. It`s clear that Carolyn Soutar, and Dave Allen`s many friends, were anxious to pay tribute to this truly lovely man and make sure his memory is kept alive.
Carolyn Soutar worked as Dave Allen`s stage manager on his 1988 British tour. She makes it sound like the best...
Published on 3 Nov 2005 by Mb Sherman

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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars He deserved better
Even if the author doesn't know when to use 'Dave and I' and when to use 'Dave and me' her editor should.

Apart from that the book was simply a collection of other people's anecdotes strung together with a few joining words. It wasn't really 'a' biography' let alone 'the' biography.

What's the story about his mother? Either it is possible to find...
Published on 28 April 2006 by Jeffrey Tyler


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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1st class comedian, 29 Oct 2012
By 
S. Roberts - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dave Allen: The Biography (Paperback)
The book is interesting from the start and grabs the attention immediately. You can imagine yourself sitting in front of Dave Allen, who I had the pleasure of seeing live 20+ years ago, and him talking to you about his life, views and how he became a comedian. This is excellent reading and gives a perfect insight to a wonderful, funny person. A great book that you want to get to the end to find out everything but then don't want it to end - perfect.
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12 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale worth telling, well told, 14 Dec 2005
By 
Andrew Killian (London, England United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
As a firm fan of Dave Allen, I hoped for two things from a new biography, to have my general impressions of him as a ‘good guy’ confirmed, and to learn something new about him. Carolyn Soutar’s book disappointed on neither score.
Solo performers are difficult subjects for biographers, especially if, like Dave Allen, their theatre work is totally alone. Family and friends know the man, but not always the performer. Fellow soloists encounter the artist, but head off into the night before having a Chinese meal with the man. Carolyn Soutar is well placed to undertake the task. She was his UK tour manager, and therefore spent a lot of time with Dave Allen, both in and out of performance.
Soutar explores comprehensively Dave Allen’s Irish background and its tradition of storytelling. Growing up in Ireland myself, I am familiar with the Celtic ‘seannachai’- a recounter of news and tales where the essential point is not the material, but the manner of its delivery. At the start of his career, there was no place for such a performer in the mainstream of British comedy, so Allen had to carve it for himself. He did so patiently, and at the height of his success, it was at the core of his individual style.
What I learnt from the book is just how successful Dave Allen had been (and for how long) in Australia and New Zealand. There is considerable detail about both his theatre performances and television shows ‘down under’. His first successes were in Australia, and it was a successful bolt-hole, to which he could return on a regular basis and earn good money. Significantly, also ensured that he was not over-exposed in the UK. He could drop out occasionally, after a television series, say, without fretting about income or risking going stale.
His theatre triumphs were no less that those on camera. One decision Dave Allen made endeared him to me forever. In spring 1990, he opened a season at the Strand Theatre in London, and the whole season sold out in advance. Catering for critics on opening nights has long been a hobby horse of mine. They are given the best seats, free, and entertained in the intervals, at the producer’s expense. Newspapers are usually better able to afford a theatre ticket for its critic than a theatre producer with margins that would frighten an accountant witless. Dave Allen, seeing that the season was sold out anyway, decreed that critics, while welcome, should pay for their own seats, just like the rest of us. Bravo!
What comes through in this well-balanced book is Allen’s generosity. Again and again, we are given examples of his hosting drinks not for the great and the good, but for the toilers in the vineyard. The show crew, the technicians were consistently looked after. Soutar relates his active concern that gratuities should embrace everyone who was involved in his visit to a particular theatre.
I was glad to read this book and would recommend it both to Allen’s many fans, and also to those who would enjoy a look-see into life on the road in UK theatre.
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9 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a love of stories, 12 Dec 2005
By 
Mr. D. M. Pimm (uk) - See all my reviews
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The man who loved to tell stories would be proud of Carolyn's virtuosic reportage: she weaves the suspense and drama and character and detail with a skill that easily matches that of the best contemporary biographers. I was instantly hooked and drawn into the curious relationship that grew between Dave and Carolyn on tour - a relationship steeped in a pathos that would continue through the pages to the mesmerising curtain down.
To evoke such strong emotional responses through his performances (whatever they might be) was Dave's talent; to understand his drive and determination and to communicate these with such passion and empathy is Carolyn's.
For one who barely remembers the great man, this is a thoroughly welcome and enjoyable testament to a remarkable life. I would recommend this book to those who wish to remember the great man, and to those who simply enjoy beautifully crafted character studies.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A quick fix for the greatest stand up of all time., 19 Sep 2007
By 
This review is from: Dave Allen: The Biography (Paperback)
Dave Allen

a legend and the greatest comic to grace us in a century, sorely let down by a book of vaguely connected and disjointed annecdotes.

I was greatly looking forward to this but a biography it was far from. Much of the book I spent turning back a few pages to work out who was quoted at any point and then who in fact they were. I was expecting a full on biography of the master Allen and his life not a few quotes from a hundred different people from a hundred different books (just check the bibliography at the end!). In death he was treated to a few pages and to be honest the tabloids at the time paid far greater respect to this comic genius. I cannot believe that so many people close to Dave both professionally and personally did not want to contribute to a real biography or him and his memory.

I can only give 2 stars out of recognition for the great man and not the book. I hope Caolyn Souter is happy with her pay packet from this and that someone can come along and eclipse this less than modest attempt at a biography.

I hope your God is with you Dave whoever he is.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dave Allen - there's no "alternative", 22 Sep 2013
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Recommended reading for anyone who grew up loving Dave Allen's humour. The fact that he never revealed how he lost the tip of his finger so that this biography and others will never be able to tell that particular story just cracks me up.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good book, 19 May 2013
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a good read and shows the real Dave Allen behind the comic personality who adored his kids and his co stars loved working with him.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Words fail me..., 29 May 2010
By 
Tin Tactoo "Tin Tactoo" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
My partner brought this and to be honest, I looked at the index looking to see the name of one of his writers (whose brother I knew personally) and of him was ...nothing! - odd when you put his name into Google and up comes his CV pointing out his work for Dave Allen, which I would have thought any self respecting writer would do by way of research in basic terms in this day and age..

Based on knowing the above, and the information given gladly over various meetings, I could well cobble something together and push it out in the same way as this book but common decency says 'no' and I speak as a great fan of this delightful entertainer, having seen him in the 60's onwards.

But based on assorted 'segments' within this book, I think its very lacking in substance - sorry - and other more down to earth comments on this site seem to bear my thoughts out quite well.
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Dave Allen: The Biography
Dave Allen: The Biography by Carolyn Soutar (Paperback - 23 Aug 2006)
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