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on 20 May 2014
Nicely written bio / memoir of a very funny & sorely missed comic. I recommend to all Dave Allen fans.
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on 9 November 2005
I am pleased to have had an opportunity to read thsi excellent book.
Like many people of my age, Dave Allen was an icon during our early years. I am sure that many were very sad to hear of his death, so I was pleased to see this book appear.
I have read it and was taken back to those years of looking forward each week to the next show.
This book brings across clearly the man who was Dave Allen. Not a brash, loud, TV personality, but a quiet and charming man.
From her personal knowledge, Carolyn Soutar has brought across that man, and his talen.
I would have no hesitation in recommending this book to everyone - especially those who have enjoyed Dave Allen's skills for so many years.
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on 29 October 2012
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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on 30 August 2015
a great read a very funny and artistic man a well written book
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on 22 September 2013
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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on 22 March 2010
I really enjoyed Dave Allen The Biography it was very interesting and a in site into the man behind the comedian, a very kind and gentleman, well written.
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on 4 October 2016
Bought it for my hubby, he enjoyed it
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on 24 January 2015
Badly written but still interesting
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on 14 December 2005
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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on 19 May 2013
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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