An Evening with David Sedaris (4 stars)

This article is from 2011.

An Evening with David Sedaris

Bona fide literary superstar reads from his works

David Sedaris is that rarest of beasts: a bona fide literary superstar and recording artist who regularly appears on TV shows such as Letterman, has performed at Carnegie Hall and has the fanbase to be able to sell out a week-long run at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre in the middle of the festivals season.

Reading for a solid 70 minutes from his collections of essays, short stories and selected extracts from his diaries is no mean feat, but the North Carolina native, who now lives in London, rarely fluffs or clutters his lines. His light tenor voice and (mostly) deadpan delivery render his minutely detailed observations on the most absurd aspects of travelling the world, overheard conversations, family and his relationship with his boyfriend Hugh all the funnier. Occasionally he steps out of character to share some of his favourite jokes and take questions from the floor.

A recent controversy over an article he wrote for the Guardian about a visit to China, which focused on the food and incredible amounts of dog faeces on the streets, is dismissed with a justification that neatly sums up Sedaris’ approach to life and his writing: ‘I would always go straight for the turds.’ You feel that, in Sedaris’ hands, even dogshit can be turned into gold.

Venue 150 @ EICC, 0844 847 1639, until 20 Aug, 6.30pm, £15.

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