Looking at the promotional poster for Laura Davis’ new show Cake in the Rain—a cake with candles held high above waters under which the holder of the cake is submerged—I had felt a sense of defiant triumph. That, no matter how far under the water the person with the cake had dipped, the cake was still fine!
Having now seen Davis’ show, once more tucked into the bunker-like Fort Delta where I had first seen her perform Ghost Machine in 2015, I look at that picture differently. It’s not a triumph, but a hope that, despite everything, something good has been preserved to be enjoyed… once the waters subside enough for the cake to be eaten.
This show is raw, both in delivery and in content, even moreso than I had seen in her previous shows. Doing away with the props of Ghost Machine and 2016’s Marco? Polo!, Davis cultivates and revels in the discomfort of the performer/audience dynamic. Her material is so personal, delivered with a sense of earnest hesitation, that you wonder about your own expectations of comedians: Tell me your darkest secrets so I may laugh at, or along with, them!
As this is the third show of Davis’ I’ve seen, I can safely appreciate the experimentation that new material brings to a performer, but I will admit that if this had been my introduction to her work, I might not have been too interested in seeing more. The vulnerability and emotion of Cake in the Rain is compelling and will definitely resonate with audience members, but it’s at the expense of polish.
I really cannot recommend Laura Davis enough – her work is consistently powerful and entertaining, in a cathartic nihilistic way. But be prepared for a raw show that tries to feel like something, even at the expense of its performance.
Laura Davis’ Cake in the Rain is playing till 23 April – tickets start from $15.30. To buy them, and to find out more about Cake in the Rain, head to the MICF website.