Laura Davis

Laura Davis

Australian comedian who won the best comedy award at the 2015 Melbourne Fringe; and also the Golden Gibbo for the most artistic independent local show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival that same year.
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Laura Davis: Albatross

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review

Laura Davis starts Albatross with a lengthy preamble from offstage. Although ‘starts’ is an overly definitive term for the casual chit-chat in which the comic addresses the state of their career, 12 shows in and still commercially unviable despite plenty of acclaim from critics, often using the double-edged adjective ‘ambitious’.

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They also profess reluctance to get this typically challenging show under way and admit its genesis was tricky. Though this seems like an idle warm-up, this preface is both joke-rich and helpful in opening up Davis’ work, making its complexity and – yes – ambition in blending the personal with the despairingly political that little bit more accessible. For, like an albatross fledgling, getting the show off the ground can be awkward.

Davis loves a metaphor – the whole hour is based on one – and there’s plenty of other poetry in their imagery, vivid, witty and often despairing. Despite Davis’s insistence that comedy and poetry are different things, Albatross covers both bases.

The comic portrays themself as a wild ‘munch witch’, roaming the untamed coastline of Scotland in search of birds. Part of Albatross is a ponderous reflection on loneliness from someone quite content to take long walks in the dark, isolated woodlands near their family home in Perth – and whose childhood seems defined by playing alone in the sand.

Other parts are a gloomy assessment of modern life, from the shitty accommodation in Generation Rent to tribal divisions fostering hatred to pondering Australia’s post-imperial place in the world. And the biggest blight of the lot: the Silent Discos that terrorise the streets of Davis’s hometown of Edinburgh, with the comic offering an in-depth – and dead-on – analysis of why it’s so easy to hate these attention-seeking parades.

This is a profound – and ultimately polemical – offering, but Davis earns that right with a story that’s beguiling and frequently funny, thanks in large part to the 36-year-old’s astute self-awareness.

Albatross is a little less intense and freewheeling than some of Davis’s previous shows – and better, I think, for the tighter focus – while not dimming the comic’s voice as an important, achingly relevant, and delightfully eloquent one in a world at risk of losing its humanity.

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Published: 6 Apr 2024

Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2017

Laura Davis – Cake in the Rain

Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Laura Davis: Ghost Machine

Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Laura Davis: If This Is It

Edinburgh Fringe 2024

Laura Davis: Albatross


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