Alice Marshall is someone who immediately stands out among the crowd. Not only is she incredibly tall, but her posters also display her drenched in blood, her eyes gazing out at you. This bloody intensity was what I was looking for in Alice Marshall: Blood – but while the passion was there, the gore was not.
Marshall divides the show up into five items: blood, mating, confidence, drinking and love (again). She introduces each topic with a short video clip, which show Alice’s journey from getting dumped (with “being too tall” as one of deal breakers) to finding love once again. Unfortunately, this sense of progression and continuity only exists through these short clips; what follows is a series of unlinked, bizarre personas.
That is not to say that the eccentric characters who Marshall introduces are not entertaining: Blood in fact opens on a very high note. Greta Medina – relationship guru, environmental warrior (and racist) – educates us on how, in the age of Tinder, love is dead. Her confidence is infectious, and she is very witty in her sometimes-lyrical complaints about men and their behaviours. Her maniacal nature emerges when she imitates a conversation with her talking ovaries and their half babies. It is evident quite early on that Marshall has no filter – she will not be subdued by any Instagram filters. Her shamelessness at being a bit gross and talking about uncouth subjects, including yeast infections, certainly leaves a lasting impression of her sense of humour.
Marshall’s wit continues to shine into the second and third items of the show. Her primal interpretation of mating in part two – narrated by none other than David Attenborough – is hilarious, as she mocks women’s colourful efforts to seduce men. Likewise, her third character,a sensual Spanish airhostess, again proves Marshall to be a very creative and clever comedian, ruthless with those she is out to ridicule. What is more, her various characters demonstrate her capabilities as a performer; the control she has over her face and body allows her to one minute be sleek and sultry, the next gangly and unsightly. Her final character, Louise, looks like a not-so-distant relative of The Mighty Boosh’s Old Gregg (and she is just as creepy).
Throughout the show, the audience will be kept waiting for the Alice seen in the video clips to make an appearance, in spite of Greta’s comment that she died because of love. As Marshall performs the final segments of her show, those watching will find themselves searching in vain for the blood and gore that the poster and title suggest. For all of Marshall’s efforts – and her very entertaining characters – very little unifies them as a group other than Marshall herself. While it is certainly heavy on the laughs, the overall direction of the show is a little disappointing.
Alice Marshall: Blood
Just the Tonic at the Caves (Venue 88)
Until 26th August
Photo courtesy of Alice Marshall