By Lisa Clark
Watching Laura Davis is like spending time with a kid who’s had too much red cordial at a party and is blurting out everything on her mind. Her bubbly personality and high pitched voice give you expectations of a bright happy comedy festival show, however the subject matter is anything but.
She begins by endearingly introducing us to the medical kit laid out on the table beside her. Laura has some rather impeding health issues that make these items necessary and for the rest of the show every time she sips from her glass and her face winces in disgust, you can’t help but sympathise. Not long after this she introduces us to some large cardboard props that had no stands, and spent the show on the floor propped against the curtain. It might have been best to put them out of sight.
First was the ‘Look out it’s a’ graph of the show, with lines predicting audience reaction to her show, it was indeed amusing, but the danger here for a new comedian is that it is not a fresh idea and you have to be pretty talented and sure of yourself to pull it off. The second danger was that by staying in sight, it proved that the show didn’t quite live up to her expectations. The second big prop, was a life sized cardboard map of the human body set out with humorous labels, only she didn’t capitalise on all the work she put in by gaining maximum laughs and discarded it fairly quickly.
Most of Laura’s material is about her rather serious health issues, her, no doubt related, obsession with death, her loneliness and the dire jobs she’s escaped. She say’s she finds the saddest stories funny, but has a bit of trouble conveying the funny to us. She does manage some substantial laughs particularly when setting up the show and in some of her highly engaging if rather tragic stories, but the chuckles get fewer and more polite as she goes along.
Laura spends a lot of time setting up and deconstructing her jokes and show, which is again a bit of a trap for an inexperienced comedian and instead of clever can appear time wasting and over analytical. She seems to come out of bad situations with some insight which she hopes will inspire her audience, but it appears that what is more important is gaining validation from the audience, indeed she demands it. Setting up her lower status at the beginning and her perky personality help keep the audience on her side.
Laura’s a strange mix of cheerful self loathing, doubt and over confidence. She certainly has enough to talk about for an hour but it doesn’t flow very smoothly and tends to be a bit all over the place. She is obviously aware of the sort of tools required to create a comedy festival show, I’m just not sure if she is quite ready to put them to best use. As a relatively new comedian doing a solo festival show she fell into a few traps herself, though she’s on the right road and by putting in the hard yards will no doubt find her way in the future.
Laura Davis is performing at the Tuxedo Cat