Alice Marshall – Blood

Last Fringe, Alice Marshall’s Vicious was easily one of the best shows you could see. Blood doesn’t hit the same lofty heights, but again, considering that Vicious was one of the handful of no-question five-star performances of 2016, you can forgive her for not blowing everything else out of the water twice in a row.

Even without doing that, Blood is an excellent hour of gross, often downright puerile comedy. Marshall remains a great physical comic, and much of the show’s biggest laughs spring straight out of her body language and facial dexterity.

The biggest problem it has is the pre-recorded sections in between her costume changes. Like Vicious before it, Blood uses filmed footage to fill the gaps while Marshall morphs into a different character. The trouble is that this time, that is sort of what these sections feel like, just something to fill the time while she changes. In Vicious, they were all hilarious, whereas here they’re just amusing.

That said, while she’s on-stage, Blood maintains a level of consistent hilarity anchored in Marshall’s ability as an impressionist and colossal stage presence. Whether it’s new characters or older ones from Vicious, Marshall just lives in these personas. There’s a few recycled bits from Vicious, but they subvert return viewers’ expectations to hilarious effect, firmly justifying their presence.

Blood isn’t quite the triumphant second coming I was hoping for, but it’s still a great show, and it remains true that Alice Marshall is one to watch now so you can look cool when she’s better known.

Blood is playful, dark, inventive, and absolutely worth seeing.

★★★★

Keiran Burnett

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