Comedy review: Laura Davis – Cake in the Rain

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Edinburgh Festival Fringe: An off-kilter perspective is a quality attributed to all kinds of comics. But for Laura Davis, who’s never previously left Australia, it’s absolutely true and then some.

Underbelly Med Quad (Venue 302)

****

The most striking disclosure in her daring and original debut is that she has suicidal ideation, impulses to kill herself that she gets roughly every 25 minutes. Yet these perversely give her pleasure, as she’s forced to focus on things she loves, such as her local cake shop.

Such counter-intuitive reasoning is a boon for stand-up, with Davis someone who roots and rattles deep around her psyche. Her hour begins with her clinging to civilised existence by her fingertips, as an incident on a tram sets her mind racing, her compelling observations on gender and marriage equality in her homeland pre-empting an explanation that she’s bisexual. Even here, though, she’s strongly second-guessing herself.

Despite being a stand-up of some ten years standing, she has a youthful appearance that means audiences are only belatedly treating her political opinions as weighty, she explains, making an incisive argument for why many don’t find female comedians funny. Quite brilliantly, she aligns discomfort about comedians discussing abortion to her creative process, the mild in-jokiness of the material hardly compromising its droll elegance.

Though her anecdotes are grounded in reality, the version we hear is filtered through her bizarrely vivid imagination, once again 
public transport and the 
fear of a young woman returning home alone prompting Davis to ascribe all sorts of motivations to a potential rapist, which are relatively progressive as it turns out. She’s also supremely witty, envisioning an endpoint to romance between anti-vaxxers, pushing their logic to an unsustainable conclusion. At one point she ventures “I’m sure people would prefer happier jokes”. Not if they’ve sound judgement they won’t, as Davis’ extreme introspection is more than cheering and frequently hilarious.

Until 28 August. Today 8:10pm.