Unless you're happy laughing at someone's expense instead of their jokes, you may want to give this one a miss.
The show centres around a premature funeral Marmion has decided to stage for herself in lieu of despairing social, physical and mental circumstances which include episodes of meningitis, appendicitis and self-loathing. Marmion interjects the show with stories and bits from her recent past, delivered with a grating hysteria that often sounds more like mad rambling than thoughtful comedy.
Some jokes fall completely flat, whilst others manage to scrape a few slightly bemused laughs, including one gag about how apparent cancer symptoms, to Marmion’s relief, were actually just the side effects of a severe, deadly depression. I laughed, but I wasn't convinced I was supposed to. The rest of the show was similarly ambiguous; at one point Marmion asked a couple to leave if they couldn't stop their uncontrollable giggling – for a nominal comedy show, this was a strange gamble which didn't pay off, alienating the room.
Marmion’s more experimental set pieces were bold but ultimately ineffective, and I found myself wishing they had more substance and wit. Following a segment on the pains of going into labour, Marmion gives birth to a bag of potatoes in an excruciating moment that feels unnecessary and gratuitous, any salient points about childbirth buried wholly in the melodrama. Similarly, an extended strip sequence was uncomfortable, making me feel less like an attendee at a comedy night and more like a captive to a deranged exhibitionist. Such insanity can work for the more bold, like Candy Gigi, but flatlines with Marmion, who chooses to get weird without going far enough, straddling an awkward middle-ground.
There are also several feeble attempts at audience interaction. One segment had three people brought on stage as representatives of Marmion's unsavoury male suitors, but she didn't fully exploit the concept, wasting a moment of potentially funny interaction and treating the volunteers as mere props. A self-eulogy at the end, delivered by two more volunteers, was saccharine and tediously self-congratulatory, and included the woefully righteous “yeah my friends find me incredibly annoying, but I can do what I want”; I found myself wishing she couldn't.
Isobel Marmion's show eschews meaningful introspection in exchange for empty spectacle and fails to live up to the novelty of its premise. Unless you're happy laughing at someone's expense instead of their jokes, you may want to give this one a miss.