After the presentation for the 2014 Theatre Book Prize one of the judges, Professor Viv Gardner, was very complimentary about Funny Bones, telling me that Freddie's autobiography was "important to our understanding of the whole period he worked in." She has now sent the following:
This is one of those stories that just have to be told. It is unique – there has never been quite such a long and varied a career as Freddie Davies’s - but it is also the story of popular entertainment over the past 70 plus years: the hey day and decline of variety, clubs, cabarets and cruise entertainment, the rise of television comedy and subsequent changes in fashion, and the shifting relationship between popular and ‘high brow’ performance. Freddie Davies has played every type of theatre in the country, from working men’s clubs and Butlins to the Royal Shakespeare Company, television and film, though his earliest memories are of the halls and variety theatres of the forties where his grandparents worked. His autobiography is replete with names and places, many long since forgotten, details of acts – his own and others’ – and whole bills. It is also a ‘back-stage’ story. Davies has worked not just as a performer, but also as a producer, so the autobiography charts not just his own stage career but also the challenges of working with and supporting other artists – the ups and downs, the nuts and bolts of the entertainment business. A researcher’s dream. It is a fascinating and important story, not just a personal but also a social and performance history.
Professor Emerita, University of Manchester
Judge, Society for Theatre Research 2014-15
Funny Bones: My Life in Comedy by Freddie Davies with Anthony Teague is available from amazon (paperback) or direct from Scratching Shed Publishing (paperback or limited edition hardback). You can read an extract here.