Review by Susanne Dahn
Elizabeth Davie’s show couldn’t help catching my eye. I’m a woman who has worked in money management and superannuation for decades and I’m painfully aware of both the gender pay gap and the retirement savings gap for women in this country. I just never thought it was funny.
Yet this show won Best Comedy Award at Perth Fringe World in 2018 and has sold out at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, Melbourne Fringe and Adelaide Fringe. So it must be funny I thought. I would go myself and find out.
It seems Davie’s own super fund sent her an email containing 300 handy tips to help her tackle the gender super gap and save more for her retirement. These helpful hints included buying cheaper makeup, reusing her tea bags and, of course, avoiding divorce. Outrageous I think as I make a mental note to find out which fund it is. And hoping she has left it now.
Commenting on the inspiration to write the show Davie said: “Women in Australia retire with an average of 23.4% less super than their male counterparts. This is a huge social issue due to factors like the 13.3% gender pay gap. Being told by my own super fund to drink weaker tea and rethink my eyeliner was such a joke I decided to write a show about it. I'm doing what I can as a comedian to highlight this problem, and that includes giving women a 13.3% discount in line with how much less we’re paid.”
Well that’s a very practical help right there. In addition one dollar from every ticket sold is donated to WIRE which provides free support, referrals & information on any issues including financial education for women in Victoria. Wow that’s good too. I already like Elizabeth Davie before the show starts. But can she make this enraging issue funny ?
Elizabeth Davie has created sell-out comedy shows for festivals around Australia. In 2020 Elizabeth received the Adelaide Fringe Emerging Performer Grant for her show Apex Predator. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, The Australian and ABC radio.
Elizabeth Davie is an energetic and engaging performer who has been rightly activated about the issue of financial independence for women and this show hits the comedy bullseye by generating the kind of lightbulb laughs that genuinely raise awareness and understanding.
Of course women’s societally disadvantaged financial position isn’t funny, but when Elizabeth activates those clown-schooled eyes and laughing jaw, flings her body and voice around only somewhat in time and in tune, and click and connects with her audience’s stories around debt, income and housing (as well as telling a classic cautionary tale by Jane Gilmour), she holds both the room’s hilarity and humanity safely in her hands as the heavy truth of injustices that need fixing deftly hit their target.
Davie’s comic timing is slick, her puppetry skills are cool and her stagecraft is accomplished. She and directors Sharnema Nougar and Shannan Lim create an unexpectedly joyful hour embedded with serious messages that audiences will keep thinking about after the show.
If you’re ready to take charge of your finances or you’d just like your mirth with meaning, catch Elizabeth Davie and her $60,000 brain - see why her investment was the best decision she ever made.