Alice Marshall: Vicious

People are vicious. People are arseholes. Alice Marshall knows this and she’s used it to fashion an hour of intelligent and very funny character comedy.

Marshall is a spectacularly charismatic performer with a knack for drawing big laughs.

The host for this exploration of human cruelty is Greta Medina. She strides onto the stage like an overbearing and waspish school mistress whose audience put-downs and white-knuckled grip on her emotions is a fragile veneer covering a well of mania. Funny and forceful, she’s a character who reveals Marshall’s significant strength as a performer, offering a composed and confident display.

From there Marshall delivers a range of characters intercut with short video segments featuring Greta announcing the following subject for review, alongside clips of real-life people talking about their own experiences of vicious behaviour. These segments are well put together, acting as a neat way of structuring the show as well as giving the comedian time to make her costume changes.

Following Greta’s departure Marshall delivers a range of well composed characters including a couple of real stand-outs. Her egomaniacal Cheryl Fernandez-Versini nee Tweedy is a narcissistic gem, as is Louise – the neurotic and deeply damaged young lady taking dating advice from Greta Medina’s disembodied, disapproving voice.

Elsewhere a couple of the characters are slightly less successful. Unity de la Touch, a promiscuous, gin-soaked old Dame whose maternal cruelty is couched in a cut-glass accent, has her moments but carries the least surprises of the set, while a failed-actor-turned-comedian does an effective job of lampooning comedy with his stand-up routine but has less depth than some others in the show.

These are minor flaws though, and they mean little to the enjoyment to be had from the overall show. Marshall is a spectacularly charismatic performer with a knack for drawing big laughs. With Vicious she has marked herself out as a big talent and definitely one to watch.

Reviews by Alec Martin

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Critically acclaimed comedy actress Alice Marshall (BBC Radio 4 Extra) presents her hotly anticipated debut solo show. She unveils a collection of weird, wonderful and truly vicious characters in a riotous hour of all things malicious. She takes a long hard look at the world through the eyes of the lonely, the angry, the hurt, the mad, the sad and the completely unhinged. Life is cruel. People are arseholes. This is Vicious. ‘A raised revolutionary first towards the future of smart female comedy… astonishing’ ***** (FemaleArts.com). ‘Erotic and extremely funny at the same time… a natural’ (Spectator).