Making her solo debut at the Fringe this year, Annabel Marlow brings her light-hearted musical comedy to a wonderfully intimate audience setting. The show’s exposition starts with Marlow walking on stage accompanied by Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ and a sea of whoops and cheers. Following this emphatic opening, Marlow clarifies that her show will be a story about her life which, she prefaces, has been quite easy, and she hasn’t been through much – setting a light-hearted tone from the start. Though I appreciated the shameless sentiment that it’s okay to do a show without a tragic or traumatic centre, at that point I did wonder whether the show would scratch beneath the surface. True to Marlow’s disclaimer, the show did not dive into deep or meaningful events or topics, though it managed to remain satisfyingly relatable, I’d love to see a more vulnerable side of Marlow’s character in future work, as this is something her musical and dramatic talents more than enable her to do.
Though the show takes pride in its lack of moral conclusion and message, do not mistake me, Marlow is an extremely talented storyteller. She interacts with the audience in a way that is perfectly performative but also very intimate. From songs about dating 2 graphic designers at the same time, a doctor waltz, an ‘ode to lockdown’ and my personal favourite, a searingly real number about overthinking, Marlow’s show turns often overlooked stones, tapping into a refreshing sense of relatability and nostalgia. Marlow is an incredible musical talent, proving her abilities on both keyboard and guitar, however, Marlow’s biggest musical superpower is her voice. With a unique tone/style that uniquely blends pop, jazz and musical theatre, Marlow’s music has a rare originality, and her ability to showcase her incredible vocal talent whilst hitting each comedic beat perfectly is second to none. Interspersing her act with a couple of original pop songs, Marlow effortlessly balances her musical and comedic talent to create an hour of entertainment that bridged the two with a seamless cohesiveness.
Though I might have liked to see a bit of depth from the show at points, Marlow achieves her set out goal of creating an hour of brilliantly guilt-free, light-hearted musical comedy. Come and see her show to see one of the most prominent young musical and comedic artists you will have the pleasure of watching at the festival.
Is This Okay?? is running until the 27th at The Pleasance Courtyard at 20:30. You can also catch Annabel in Public: The Musical, also at The Pleasance Courtyard at 18:30 until the 28th.