Alice Marshall: Vicious

My only hope coming out of Vicious is that Alice Marshall gets a TV show. I want more Greta Medina, and I’ll sign a half-arsed petition or something to get it. I’ve got the feeling she won’t need my help.

You’d think Alice Marshall would walk onto the stage, but no, it’s Greta Medina looking like a Nazi equestrian. Somewhere between life-coach, relationship advisor, and a megaphone, her off-putting vocal ticks and grammatical errors practically rerun the woman’s childhood in front of your eyes. In the cavalcade of characters Marshall inhabits, she’s the best, and she knows it. That is, both Marshall and Medina know it. The rest of the show pivots around this inspired creation, each segment of show introduced by hilariously edited self-help videos presented by Medina. There’s echoes of her arrogance and spite in the rest of Marshall’s one-woman cast, truly framing the show through Medina’s insane and repressed eyes.

Intensity defines Vicious, from it’s stand-out character all through the rest. Focussed and energetic, Marshall inflates the egos she inhabits, a fantastic impressionist through and through. She makes as effective use of silence as she does volume, whether it’s in scrupulously counted awkward pauses, or in long stretches of beguiling physical comedy. In fact there’s tremendous physicality running throughout the whole show. Those who know Marshall through radio should also know the medium does her no justice.

The physicality extends to the audience, with Marshall frequently pestering and involving, probably for her own amusement as much as ours. That’s twice now I’ve seen a performer down someone’s drink in sheer dedication to acting in character.

Rounding out the show Marshall really shows off by proving she can do cringing, crushingly awkward as well as megalomaniacal. It should be punishable by death to spoil so I won’t, but it’s as smart a closing sketch as it is a hilarious closing sketch. See the show.

Despite all the hateful freaks she plays, Marshall comes across as improbably likeable, without ever really breaking character. I really do expect Alice Marshall to go on to greater, funnier things. At the least she really ought to get that TV show I’m after. She’s one you’ll be glad you saw before she got big, and if not she’ll be up there with all best you saw who’ve properly deserved it. See the show.

★★★★★

Keiran Burnett 

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