No Further Action – Jim Davidson
Star rating: *****
Thursday 3rd July 2014
West Ruislip, Middlesex
He’s cheeky, crude and oh so very rude. You know what to expect when you see Jim Davidson and he certainly didn’t disappoint a sold out Comedy Bunker audience in Ruislip. Not only that, the reason the place was packed solid was not just because Jim is a TV star, but he is a very funny man, who has been performing for many years and brings wealth of experience and humour to the stage. From start to finish he had me crying with laughter and from someone who reviews as many gigs as I do, that takes some doing.
The full house was especially impressive, with it being, at 28c, the hottest day of the year. What is it about Comedy Bunker and exceptionally hot nights? Last time I was here to see Barry Cryer and Ronnie Golden, 16 May 2014, it was also at the time, the hottest day of the year, with temperatures of 23c!
That said I have to say this was possibly the most personal show Jim Davidson has ever put on. Choosing to share so much personal material which made it all the more unique and special (although if his Dad were alive today he might not think so!)
It was fascinating to hear him comment that he’d started his career in Ruislip 40 years ago doing three sets per night in different venues in the area for just £15 a spot. Forty years on, he’s back .. just doing 1 gig mind… though of course that’s no come down and he certainly wasn’t performing for £15, not with tickets selling at £21.50 each.
We learnt a lot regarding his upbringing. He is half-Scottish-half Irish. His father being something of a drunkard, no stereotyping there then, provided a huge wealth of material that had the audience in stitches. Whether that’s the tales of late night drinking, conversations (if you can call them that), with his father and all manner of incidents involving sex and all manner of bodily functions I’d rather not go into.
He has always been known for putting on a great accent and we were treated to a wide repertoire of them, all used as vehicles to deliver great gags. None were offensive either. I know that’s one of the big accusations made against Jim Davidson, but nothing could be further from the truth. I don’t think anyone belonging to any of the nationalities he mimicked would have been in the least bit offended by the jokes and accents. Jim made it clear on stage and in recent media interviews that he is tired of the PC brigade and just gets on and delivers his shows and has no time for his critics with their pre-set agenda’s. Warming to that theme, the joke about the man calling out for help via the Samaritans was a cracking gag.
He did refer to the characters he used to do when starting out, like Chalkie White, but explained himself well and in my opinion, no further action is required there, other than for people to give the man a chance and see what he’s about today. Most comedians have material they’re embarrassed about and I know of no comedian doing material 30, 40 years old. Jim is no different. Even peers such as Lenny Henry who rose to fame at the same time as Jim, via shows such as Opportunity Knocks and New Faces, the Britain’s Got Talent of the 1970’s, will have material they’re not overly proud of.
No Further Action
The theme of the night related to his fight to clear his name when he got caught up in the ‘Operation Yewtree’ Police investigation into historic sexual abuse. He used to joke about who’d be next, so it must have been quite a shock when he found himself personally under investigation. I won’t say too much, suffice to say it was widely reported he was completely innocent of all charges against him. They were dropped and there was to be ‘no further action’. Nonetheless, he gave us a good insight into how these investigations play out and Jim being Jim, turned much of the story into humorous anecdote. Of course, he acknowledged it was actually a very serious, career and reputation damaging allegation, which in reality cost him a lot of money – roughly £500k in cancelled bookings, including appearing in Celebrity Big Brother 2013.
There were some brilliant anecdotes from gigging with the likes of Freddie Starr and Frank Carson. This included a spirited defense of Freddie Starr too, who also had to defend himself against false allegations. They were dropped due to insufficient evidence. It was great to hear these and lifted this far and above a run of the mill comedy show. These are comedy legends and his peer group. To still be performing at such a high level for 40 years is an amazing achievement which should be celebrated in this high turnover show business industry, where you can be flavour of the month, one moment and history the next month.
There was plenty of lads banter and football gags from the Charlton supporting south Londoner, which was good to hear and highly topical with the world cup going on. In a way, Jim Davidson is the George Best of comedy – highly talented, one of the very best of his generation, a wizard on the stage, very successful with women and lover of a wee dram or three! top of his game.
Jim is so clearly a skilled comedian at the top of his game. This was a cool, funny, very well structured show. He expertly dealt with one heckler, but wasn’t to be too sidetracked by that (he didn’t speak up again funnily enough), as he wasn’t ready to be diverted off course. It was a brave call, to base a show around such a serious topic, but fair play to him. It’s his life and he chose to turn it into what I’m sure will be a hit show.
Jim has been doing stand up for 40 years. The experience showed. He was energetic, full of cracking observational and self-deprecating jokes and extremely topical. It was easy to see why he’s been consistently rated as one of the country’s top comedians for so long. Edinburgh’s in for a treat this August. It will be his first time performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Who knows, as he suggested, he might even get nominated for the Best Newcomer Award!
Jim Davidson’s ‘No Further Action’ is one of the must see shows of the Edinburgh Fringe 2014. The title is misleading though, for on the strength of this superb show, comedy fans need to take immediate action and book to see Jim Davidson. Tickets can be booked to see Jim on his forthcoming UK tour and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, 1-31 August 2014. Or failing that, those interested can read all about Jim’s story of his brush with the law and other escapades in ‘No Further Action’, out on 7 August 2014.
© Tiemo Talk of the Town
World Cup 2014 Men’s Talk
Thursday 10th July 2014
Free. Men only.
Ramada Encore London West
4 Portal Way
London W3 6RT
Book free tickets
Friday 18th July 2014
The Fairway / Ruislip Golf Centre
Middlesex. HA4 7DQ
8pm (Doors). 8.30pm (Showtime)
The final show of the season at Comedy Bunker features Josh Howie, Matt Richardson and James Dowdeswell