Watch Alistair's last 'Introductions to Classical Piano' tour promotional video here:
Alistair McGowan (born in Evesham on 24th November 1964) has worked in almost every area of showbusiness/the arts over his 30 year career. He is an impressionist, a stand-up comic, an actor, a pianist, a writer of sketches, articles, stage and radio plays but is still probably best known to British audiences for 'The Big Impression' which was, for four years, one of BBC1's top-rating comedy programmes - winning numerous awards, including a BAFTA.
On Sept 29th 2017, despite having only played the piano in earnest for four years, he released, 'Alistair McGowan ; The Piano Album' through Sony Classical. It went to Number One in The Official Classical Charts and no 2 in the Classic FM chart and was John Brunning's Album of The Week.
After the success of the album, in 2018 (and again in 2019), he toured a highly-original, piano-based show called, 'Introductions to Classical Piano' in which he played many of the pieces from the album and additional works by Gershwin, Debussy and Bill Evans, among others - interspersed with stories about the composers, the pieces and his own classical 'journey' with more than a a sprinkling of wit and and a side-order of impressions. He thinks it is the first time an impression of Harry Kane has featured on the concert platform before a piece of Chopin. The show was very well-received and he will be touring again with it in 2020 (see 'News' page for dates and venues).
2018 saw him back on TV, providing voices for the impressions-based comedy show, 'The Week That Wasn't' on Sky One and also featured in two episodes of ITV1's new panel show, 'The Imitation Game'. He was one of the small number of comedians invited to perform for Prince Charles at his 70th birthday celebration on ITV1 (he has now been asked to perform at the Prince of Wales' 50th, 60th and 70th birthday concerts).
He was heard providing voices, alongside Ronni Ancona, for 'Gaby's Talking Pictures' on Radio 4 - and the show returned to Radio 4 in August 2019.
He was back on tour in 2019 doing purely stand-up and impressions alongside Jasper Carrott ("An Evening Shared with Jasper Carrott and Alistair McGowan") - following a sell-out run at the end of 2018 which garnered universally good reviews for the pair.
In 2016, he wrote a one-man show called "Erik Satie's-faction" which he took to the Edinburgh Festival ('A perfect Edinburgh show', The Observer). A fascinating and moving assembly of Satie's own words and music, it saw McGowan making his piano-playing debut and followed on from an appearance as a narrator at The Proms (as Satie) in 'A Satie Cabaret' alongside pianist Alexandre Tharaud. (He staged another performance of 'Erik Satie's-faction' at The Music Hall in Aberdeen on March 16th 2019.)
He also made his debut as Claude Debussy, alongside pianist Lucy Parham, in her show 'Reverie' - in March 2019. (He has also performed as Rachmaninov in Lucy's show 'Elegie' at several venues around the country in the last two years.)
He has worked extensively in theatre throughout his career and appeared in the West End in 'Art', as The Emcee in 'Cabaret', the Mikado in 'The Mikado', Henry Higgins in 'Pygmalion' (twice on stage and once on Radio 4), The Dentist in 'Little Shop of Horrors' (for which he received an Olivier nomination) and received widespread critical acclaim for his performance in the title role of Jonathan Maitland's controversial play, 'An Evening With Jimmy Saville.' His last theatre outing was in November 2017 when he played First Voice in Dylan Thomas' 'Under Milk Wood' at The Watermill Theatre in Newbury.
As an actor on television, he played Piero de Medici in 'Leonardo' for CBBC and took the lead lead role in BBC1's 'Mayo' (co-writing several episodes) and is fondly remembered as Spock in Tim Firth's ground-breaking 'Preston Front'.
He has also appeared on the big screen as Nico in 'Driving Aphrodite' with Nia Vardalos and Richard Dreyfuss - mystifyingly, his only brush with Hollywood despite the review, "McGowan steals every scene he is in", (Hollywood Reporter.)
He has been a regular on Radio 4 comedies and dramas throughout his career and has played Boris Johnson, Alan Bennett and Richard Briers in 3 different 2-hander plays in the last few years and, in 2016, played all 48 characters in 'Munchausen'.
'He wrote the play 'Timing' (nominated for 'Best New Comedy' at the whatsonstage.com awards), the radio plays 'Three Pieces In The Shape of a Pear' about Erik Satie (Radio 4 - Listen Here:), 'The Peregrinations of a Most Musical Irishman (about composer and pianist John Field), 'The 'B' Word' (about the fraught first production of George Bernard Shaw's 'Pygmalion' - which he is currently trying to turn into a film) and the book 'How To Wean Your Man Off Football' with former comedy partner, Ronni Ancona. He has also fronted documentaries on Radio 4 about two of his favourite composers - Satie and Field.
He is always fondly remembered by football fans, players and managers of a certain age for his groundbreaking 'Football Backchat' Videos with which he made his name in the mid-1990s.
He has directed Noel Coward's 'Semi-Monde' at The Guidhall School of Music and Drama and 'The Mikado' and 'Pirates of Penzance' for Raymond Gubbay. His love of classical music has also seen him introduce 'live' concerts for Radio 3 and three times feature as a guest on Radio 3's 'Essential Classsics'.
He presented ITV1's doomed sports comedy show 'You Cannot Be Serious' and has also featured on 'Bake Off For Comic Relief','Who Do You Think You Are', 'Mock The Week', 'Live At The Apollo', 'Countdown', 'The Chase' and is a 'Pointless Celebrities' winner, has presented occcasional pieces on 'The One Show' and began his career by providing voices for the iconic 'Spitting Image'.
He has also now played the piano 'live' on Radio 3's 'In Tune' on three occassions - playing Satie's Gnossienne 1, Grieg's Nocturne and Liszt's Consolation no 3.
The wife's not bad either!
Alistair married the singer, Charlotte Page, in June 2013 - You can watch her singing 'Losing My Mind' from Stephen Sondheim's Follies by clicking on the link below:
Latest News Monday 27th May 2019 14:22
Alistair's new show, 'The Piano Show' (formerly : 'Introductions To Classical Piano') continues to impress and inspire audiences around the country and has been described as 'The classical concert you've always wanted to see.'
Having been playing in earnest for under five years, McGowan delights in playing in public. The show got its original name because he introduced each piece he played to the audience with an informative and often witty story about the composer of each piece - he plays 14 pieces in total during 'The Piano Show'.
The pieces are short, romantic and accessible but span the history of music from Bach via Chopin to Debussy and Satie, Grieg and Glass, Gershwin and Bill Evans right up to Yann Tiersen.
Well-aware that he is no virtuouso, McGowan has carefully chosen simpler pieces which he hopes will inspire audience members, young and old, to start playing or to go back to the instrument. Many audience members have sought him out, post-show, to tell him that they intend to go back to the instrument after seeing him play.
They say they find his mistakes as appealing and inspiring as his playing.
The words : 'human', 'warmth' 'your clear love for the music' and 'lovely touch' crop up again and again.
He hasn't fallen out of love with impressions, however, and the show is sprinkled with new vocies like Fred Siriex, Prince Harry, Harry Kane and Jacob Rees Mogg as well as old favourites like Roger Federer and Andy Murray.
It's two great shows for the price of one.
'This is some career-change!' (Richard Madeley, Radio2).
2nd Thornbury Festival
8th Chipping Norton Theatre
12th Coventry, Warwick Arts Centre
13th Radlett Centtre, Radlett
15th Cadogan Hall, London
17th, Philarominic Music Room, Liverpool
20th, Hippodrome, Darlington,
21st Steven Jopseph Theatre, Scarborough
22nd Town Hall ,Selby
1st New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-Under-Lyme
3rdWatermark Theatre, Ivybridge
4th Northcott Theatre, Exeter,
6th Palace Theatre Newark,
12th Malvern Theatres,
13th Arts Centre, Tetbury
18th Town Hall, Loughborough,
20th Norwich Playhouse
26th Shanklin Theatre, Isle of Wight
27th, Rose Theatre, Kingston
17th Lichfield Festival
15th Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury
19th St Ives Festival
25th Courtyard , Hereford
26th Floral Pavilion, New Brighton
30th Queen's Hall Arts Centre, Hexham
1st Alnwick Playhouse
And he is performing alongside Garry Richardson, Charlotte Green and the Reverend Richard Coles in 'Radio Live' - a celebration of all things Radio - in :
Canterbury - May 7th
Bournemouth - May 31st
High Wycombe - June 10th
Petworth - July 28th
For all dates, venues and full booking details go to : www.highfieldproductions.com