Laura Davis makes her return to Fringe after an international foray, and Erin Hutchinson welcomes her style of “positive pessimism”.
If This Is It, Laura Davis ·
Oasis Comedy Club, 25 January 2022 ·
As Laura Davis says, “Comedy is hard. Comedy is fiscally difficult.” But going by this show, comedy is definitely something Davis should never give up.
Davis made the move back to her hometown of Perth in 2020 after doing the rounds of the international comedy circuit and garnering gongs in Melbourne, London and Edinburgh, and this return to Fringe is perfectly timed.
Her slightly cynical style of comedy seems to encapsulate a real sense of the uncertainty of this moment in time, what with pandemics and heatwaves and global warming and all that, but she does it with sensitivity, care and plenty of laughs.
Appropriately for a Fringe show (and for a festival with a controversial past relationship with a key oil and gas company), If This Is It comments as much on the ever-changing expectations of “Art” as it does the likelihood of a burning inferno in our near future.
Davis doesn’t want to be political, but she just can’t help herself, and if you manage to get to the show, you’re going to get a good dose of wonderfully frank “opinions” and sceptical but kind of sweet observations about society, on everything from Twitter to toys and cows to Attenborough to stupidity and more. There are some sudden changes in topic, and things sometimes escalate swiftly (I can’t quite remember how we got to orphans!) but these are all part of Davis’ effective and playful timing, and work wonderfully with her strategic pauses and seemingly casual gestures.
Davis has such a relaxed and well-rehearsed manner that the audience seems totally at ease and more than ready to join her on any topic she wants to explore. That could have been that we were in the delightfully air-conditioned space of the Oasis Comedy Club and we were well stocked with drinks from the bar downstairs, but Davis’ approach had a lot to do with it.
In fact, if Davis could be the face of the impending apocalypse, I’d be facing it with a smile. Her positive pessimism about the state of our world is just so darn cheerful.
“Is this art?” Davis’ tongue is stuck firmly in her cheek when she asks this question about If This Is It.
I certainly learnt some stuff – I’m not alone in failing at tax returns, I don’t think I’m going to be a crazy rug salesman, and I can add another use for duct tape to my list.
Is is art? I reckon you should just go and see for yourself. It is well worth the ticket price.