Laura Davis: Ghost Machine

11 March 2016 | 3:54 pm | Madeleine Laing

"The humour is weird and absurd and surprising — Davis never goes for the obvious joke, just the best one."

Laura Davis' Ghost Machine has won plenty of awards (like Best Independent Comedy at Melbourne Comedy Festival and Best Comedy at Melbourne Fringe) and been pretty amazingly reviewed all over the place. Even in this little 3/4 full room, with loud bar noise coming through the walls, it's easy to see why. Davis tackles huge subjects like religion, existence and science and guilt and regret with the same confusion and disbelief as all of us, but also with the intelligence and insight to come to conclusions that we never would by ourselves.

This isn't just one of those 'walk away with a new perspective on things' shows, but one where 100 new perspectives hit one after another throughout the hour, but you can't even stop to think about them because you won't want to miss the next joke. The humour is weird and absurd and surprising — Davis never goes for the obvious joke, just the best one. Some stories, notably those that reference childhood bullying, are sad, but you never once pity Davis. Instead you can only stand in awe of how someone built such a wonderful vibrant show out of that existential angst and sadness we all feel but can't make anything constructive out of. The Ghost Machine of the title allows for some fun physical comedy, and in interacting with the crowd Davis creates real intimacy and warmth in the room, but her ideas are what you'll really walk away with.