Sian Davies

Sian Davies

Sian Davies is a stand-up based in the North West of England. She won the award for Best Debut Show at Leicester Comedy Festival in 2020, was runner-up in the Funny Women Stage Award 2019 and the winner of Hilarity Bites New Act Competition 2018.

She is behind the Edinburgh Fringe Comedy Queers, compilation show and Best in Class, a crowdfunded profit sharing show promoting working-class comedians.

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Sian Davies: This Charming Man

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

There’s a lot to unpack in Sian Davies’s serpentine second show, covering the big issues of identity and the separation of art from the artist as she tells her coming-of-age story with the aid of The Smiths. 

She sometimes trips herself up over the many strands she lays, from pop culture to family stories to gender politics, but better to be too ambitious than not ambitious enough.

Davies’s love of Morrissey’s mournful indie music stems from childhood via an unlikely route. Starved of lesbians to represent her – or to lust over – in the mainstream media, she became a fan of sapphic teenage Russian pop duo Tatu. They recorded an unlikely cover of The Smiths’ How Soon Is Now?, which unlocked in Davies a lifelong appreciation of the Manchester band’s work – and their frontman’s quiff.

Like Morrissey and Johnny Marr’s compositions, Davies’ comedy combines personal introspection with broader societal issues and the occasional erudite reference. Indeed, she is so proud of some of the more hidden or complex jokes that she can’t bear to imagine they’d be missed, so stops to explain, for example, the gag about typographer and paedophile Eric Gill.

This feeds into the show’s stated theme: Where do you go when your role models let you down? Can you still enjoy their work? But Morrissey’s increasingly problematic views are largely glossed over – instead, Davies has the less likely target of Shania Twain in her sights.

More central to the show are people’s attitudes to the spectrums of sexuality and gender, given her first-hand experiences. Davies argues kids are instinctively OK with fluidity, unpolluted by ‘media-sponsored trans panic’ - and that we should no longer excuse any bigotries in older generations, who did not grow up in unenlightened times.

This Charming Man is billed as part stand-up, part processing of childhood trauma and part lecture – she even has the lectern/pulpit to prove it – and Davis is as good as her word. Many side topics are raised, from class issues to plagiarism, since The Smiths’ lyrics liberally used phrases penned by others, and while the scope is admirable, the content can feel cluttered and bitty.

But it means there’s no shortage of jokes, with callbacks, added layers and little Easter Eggs – such as a sly jibe at a certain comedy club with a laddish reputation. These are punctuated by snippets of Morrissey’s TV interviews, acting almost like gifs for those with short attention spans.

Davies even pushes herself out of her stand-up comfort zone a little, most successfully with a parody of gritty Northern chip-pan dramas, so reductive about the working-class experience, and with the finale in which she dramatically reinvents herself. Ultimately, anyone can change is the message – whether it's for the better or, like Morrissey, for the worse.

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Published: 23 Aug 2023

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Comedy Queers \ Free Festival

Edinburgh Fringe 2019

About Time \ Bully

Comedy Queers

Edinburgh Fringe 2021

Comedy Queers [Ed Fringe 2021]

Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Sian Davies: About Time

Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Sian Davies: This Charming Man

Edinburgh Fringe 2024

Sian Davies: Band of Gold


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