Alice Marshall is an actor and comedian who made her mark on the Fringe as part of topical sketch show NewsRevue. She garnered acclaim for her 2016 show Vicious, showcasing her dark brand of character comedy. We asked her about her new show, Blood, her Fringe experiences and her comedy heroes.
Blood won the Best Comedy Award at this year’s Brighton Fringe. Could you tell us a little bit about the show, and why we should come and see it?
Blood is a character comedy show with a difference. It came to life after a particularly nasty break-up, and I play five different versions of myself who are all trying to deal with rejection. It’s definitely not your usual ‘woe-is-me-heartbreak’ show though; my characters are bizarre, grotesque and erotic in equal measure. One of them is an incredibly angry Spanish air hostess, another one is a very camp bird of paradise called Simon with a penchant for Bryan Adams… there’s something for everyone.
Where do you find the inspiration for your characters?
They all come from the worst parts of my own personality, mixed with other people I find interesting. The air hostess character is based on an flight attendant I met on an Iberia flight two years ago, and another of my characters is a heightened version of my ex mother in law. It’s all a bit cathartic.
You seem to be fascinated by some of the darker aspects of humanity. What draws you to the dark side, and how do find the humour there?
Comedy has always been my most effective comfort blanket. From as far back as I can remember I’ve relied on comedy to get me through my toughest moments. Shit happens to all of us all the time, but I’ve learned to laugh at just about everything. When you look for humour in your own personal darkness, it gradually becomes your go-to comedy source.
Who are your comedy heroes?
They’re a wide and varied bunch, but I absolutely idolise all of them… Headed up by Rik Mayall and Eddie Izzard, with appearances from Dylan Moran, Doon Mackichan and the Smack The Pony ladies, Joanna Lumley, Dermot Morgan, Pauline McLynn, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton, Reeves and Mortimer, Mitchell and Webb, Wood and Walters… The list is endless. Colin Hoult is a recent addition. The man is a genius.
What are the best and worst aspects of the Fringe?
The best thing about the Fringe is the fact that it’s just so bloody exciting. It’s like being in comedy Disney World for a month. There’s always something amazing to see, brilliant new people to meet and wonderful old friends to get drunk with. What could be better? Also just being able to do the show every day is a massive honour. The worst bits… Poverty. Fear. Judgement. Self-loathing. Fear. Hangovers. Exhaustion. Helplessness. Exhaustion. Poverty. Fear… oh god.
What other shows are you looking forward to seeing at the Fringe?
I saw a preview of Stupid, the new show by my dear friends Dirty White Boys last night, and I don’t want to bandy the word perfect around, but… They are ridiculously good performers and achingly funny writers, and were worthy winners at Sketch Fest 2016. If it’s not an enormous hit then something has gone even more wrong with the world.