Alistair McGowan brings Ludlow Fringe to a close one year after moving to Shropshire

Comedy legend and patron of Ludlow Fringe Alistair McGowan performed the festival's closing set in his new home town.

Alistair McGowan at St Laurence's Church ahead of his performance closing the Ludlow Fringe Festival
Alistair McGowan at St Laurence's Church ahead of his performance closing the Ludlow Fringe Festival

McGowan brought his unique performance, 'The Piano Show', which combined playing classical pieces on a Steinway Grand Piano with his stand-up comedy and impressions, to the event at St Laurence's Church on Sunday.

The BAFTA award-winning comedian, who moved to Ludlow last year, said he had enjoyed getting to know locals and taking advantage of the town's independent shops.

"It's an absolutely fantastic place, and an accident I ended up living here really," he said.

"I first came here in 2013 and performed at the assembly rooms, I thought it was such a lovely place.

"I then came back to Shrewsbury's Theatre Severn and came to Ludlow the day after and thought again how nice it is – I then found myself having moved here last year."

McGowan said he was looking forward to Ludlow Assembly Rooms reopening.

He added: "It's a lovely small town and it's great getting to know everybody and shopping locally. You can do everything local.

"The countryside on our doorstep is just amazing, although I don't like telling too many people how nice it is; we like it that not many people know about Shropshire and Ludlow."

McGowan said while Covid had impacted the arts industry, it had given him the chance to enjoy his new home, picking apples and planting runner beans.

"There's been no live performances which is mainly what I do now," he said. "I've been able to do radio from home online which is amazing.

"I haven't actually missed the live work that much as I've been doing non-stop work for 30 years so to have an enforced holiday of over a year and half is probably quite good for me mentally and physically.

"Also it's just about having the time to do other things, picking apples, planting runner beans and things I've never done before in my life – it's been a real change.

"I haven't got any complaints about travelling around the country and having a good time, but it is nice to be in one place for once, especially here."

Anita Bigsby, director of Ludlow Fringe Festival, said they were delighted to be hosting McGowan.

She also praised the support the star has given to the festival over the years.

The Ludlow Fringe Festival launched on June 19 and has included both live and online performances with a diverse programme featuring comedy, theatre, music, dance, visual arts and more.

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