I am just going to start with this : Laura Davis is currently doing one of the best comedy shows in the Fringe. She is playing in a tiny venue (The Rhino Room Beer Garden) and she is such a talent and this show so utterly wonderful, that you will bring shame on your family and all future generations of that family if you don’t make sure you see it. So there you go. No review yet and I have proposed generations of shame and kicking yourself should you fail to attend (you totally should).
You enter the Rhino beer garden which is bathed in red light. On the stage sits a blindfolded woman in a one piece swimming costume wearing an inflatable pool dragon floaty. Once the audience is in, Laura explains that we should get used to the blindfold because it’s not coming off (it doesn’t). This is simultaneously is a wholly unique and slightly disconcerting manoeuvre. It’s funny, but makes the next hour strangely like a trust exercise. She can’t see your reactions, or raised hands. She can’t see if you get up and leave (nobody does). There is audience interaction were she uses that old swimming pool game to get us to respond. “Marco” says Davis, “Polo” we reply.
Her humour is smart, clever, confusing, endearing, well crafted and delivered with charming and awkward style. It reminded me of how I felt watching Josie Long in some respects. Self effacing, genuine, confident, kind of indie, using her own foibles to the benefit of herself and the show, in a way that leaves the audience feeling warm and fuzzy. I am tempted to chuck words around like uplifting, but they seem kind of hokey. Let’s go with ‘heart-warming’.
In the past her shows have been extremely confessional and almost over-sharey. Tonight is less like reading her diary, but more like meeting an intriguing person at a party (a pool party I guess) that you find interesting, but can’t quite figure out. I was at a party about 35 years ago and I walked into the kitchen and there was a guy sitting all alone on a chair, threatening himself (with appropriately horrified reactions) with a tiny toy cap gun. Purely for his own amusement. He remains one of my best friends to this day. After spending an hour in her audience, I felt like Laura Davis is somebody I could still be kicking around with in 35 years from now.
So just to recap – Laura Davis is fantastic. This show is wonderful. Eternal shame and damnation will follow you and your descendents if you fail to catch her show. Laura Davis is on til March 4 at the Beer Garden at Rhino Room. Tickets from Fringe Tix.
Review by Ian Bell.