Punters casually strolled into the Graffiti Room at the Brisbane Powerhouse to see Laura Davis' 'Ghost Machine' (8 March), greeted by an appropriately titled song: 'Laura Inside The Ghost Machine' by Anda Volley and a bed-sheeted ghostly visage wandering about the stage.
Davis wears the ghost costume for the majority of her show, accompanied by a series of lights strapped and mounted on her person, providing the majority of the light for the show. Davis utilises these expertly, having a slight adjustment of the light above her head to bring a few extra laughs to a punchline.
The show itself is all about Davis tangling with an existential crisis and how to deal with life in a universe that is mostly empty and devoid of meaning. She approaches this topic with intense wit and intelligence, managing to keep laughs flowing throughout even the darkest of themes and personal revelations.
The irony of the show is that Davis uses the ghost costume to obscure and distance herself from her audience, but in the process of doing so reveals more about herself than you could ever gain just by a simple conversation.
She also encourages the audience to take part in self-revelation by asking questions one normally wouldn't get at a standard comedy show, such as: “Were you bullied at school?” and “Do you have any regrets”?
Davis displays her eight years of performing experience in which she expertly comes off the back and improvises from audience answers, never losing pace or rhythm.
The show is wonderfully constructed with care, laced with subtle call-backs and intersecting themes. It's not hard to see why it won 'Best Comedy' at the Melbourne Fringe Festival (2015) and 'Best Independent Comedy' at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (2015).
Davis takes us on an introspective journey throughout her life, detailing not only her experiences, but how she struggles with concepts like God, the afterlife and creating meaning in a meaningless world. She does this all while maintaining a sense of impeccable charm and irreverence, creating a satisfying hour of comedy.
For those who are looking for something different and more intelligent beyond the surface level of stand-up comedy, Laura Davis is a must-see act.
'Ghost Machine' runs at the Powerhouse until Sunday 13 March as part of the Brisbane Comedy Festival.