Steve Day: Deafy's Island Discs
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2007
Radio 4's Steve Day, comedian and actor, hearing-impaired since the age of eighteen, plays and talks about seven records he remembers and misses most. Come along and hear what he can't.
Steve Day has done it again. Heís created a delightful, personal show that is both laugh-out-loud funny, but also compelling and sensitive. A perfect festival show, really.
Using the format of Desert Island Discs, he chooses seven tunes that have resonance in his life. As he lost his hearing in 1982, everything predates that. However, with the advent of digital technology, he now has hearing aids that will pick up music reasonably successfully. So after 25 years, it is possible for him to hear his favourite tracks again. Unfamiliar music is harder to recognise apparently, so he sticks to old favourites.
From The Jam to Ella Fitzgerald, thereís a story attached about each period in his life. This isnít clunking and linear as you might expect, but a useful device to focus on the musical references or provide the broad soundtrack to the time and place.
But of course, this isnít a musical show, it is very firmly comedy. Steve Day has very light touch with an anecdote, superb turns of phrase and a talent for unforced self-deprecation. From being a Mod in ghastly, blue-collar Stevenage to becoming a creative fibbing museum tour guide in Liverpool, the laughs come thick and fast.
Thereís a personal journey from reluctant engineering student, to picking up with philosophy, dealing with his degenerating hearing and examining his own casual, received racism. Heís made progress from stroppy adolescent rejecting his parents values, to anxious dad of stroppy adolescents, gaining an understanding of his own parents in the process.
Iím making it sound like a self help mush: itís not at all - a fine and funny show. Iíd even say heartwarming, but that doesnít sound funny enough. Itís the best use of an early-evening slot so far this festival.
Reviewed by: Julian Chambers
Date of review: Aug 2007