INTERVIEW: ALICE MARSHALL

Hey Alice! How’s it going? Are you excited about bringing Vicious to London?
Absolutely! I can’t wait. Edinburgh was so much fun, so I’m just thrilled to get the chance to do it all again. It started life in London just over two years ago; it feels like I’m bringing it home after a holiday.

The response to your show has been fantastic, did you ever imagine you’d get this kind of reaction to your debut solo show?
Not in a million years. It’s been completely overwhelming. It was a real risk going out on my own, but I had this reckless idea that it was the right thing to do. Doing a show on your own can be a terrifying experience, but when you can see people enjoying it you push past the fear. It makes you want to keep going and do more. Make it bigger, make it better…

What would you say would be the biggest lesson you’ve taken from your debut experience?
Ask for help. Always ask for help. When I first started making the show I felt this enormous pressure to do it entirely on my own. But then I started working with a brilliant director, the amazing Stephen Sobal from the award winning All In Theatre, and it made such a difference. It became fun again.

Tell me a little bit about Vicious; how did the show come about?
The show is a collection of comedy characters, all of whom are fundamentally vicious but in very different ways. It’s a human trait that fascinates me, and is something I think we’re all capable of. I decided that the only way to deal with awful people is to laugh at them.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced with this show?
Dealing with myself! It seems obvious, but working alone can be incredibly lonely. In the early days it was just me in a rehearsal room, which can be very frustrating - there’s no way of knowing whether what you’re doing is any good. You also forget to be nice to yourself. I would often find myself crying and shouting ‘BE FUNNIER!’ at my reflection in the mirror.

Have you always had a passion for character comedy?
Always, and my favourite characters growing up were all absolute monsters; people like Rik Mayall in Bottom and Joanna Lumley in Ab Fab. I’ve always been fascinated with the way characters like that can be so utterly grotesque and hateful, and yet so genuinely funny and likeable at the same time.

What was the first character you created?
The first character I created is actually the character who links the whole show together. She’s a domineering relationship guru who’s been so hurt and damaged by her own experiences of love that she’s very poorly suited to the job. I also think she’s the closest to me in real life. I’m not quite sure what that says…

Best 5 words to describe your show?
It’s silly, nasty, absurd, venomous and maybe a bit sexy as well.  

What has been the best advice you’ve been given?
Enjoy it. Which seems incredibly simple on paper, but it’s easy to forget that the most important thing of all is to make sure your audience have fun, and that you have fun with them.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My biggest comedy inspirations are still my childhood idols. Rik Mayall and Ade Edmonson, Doon Mackichan and the Smack the Pony girls, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley - I like to think there’s a bit of all of them in vicious.

And finally, what do you hope people will take from your show?
I hope that when people meet my characters they recognise a bit of viciousness, either in someone they know, or themselves. And I hope it helps them to laugh at it.

Vicious runs at The Kings Head Theatre on November 18th-19th at 10pm (50 mins).

Show Trailer: https://vimeo.com/189312623

Website: www.alicemarshall.co.uk

 

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