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Review: Annabel Marlow: Is This Okay? at Pleasance Courtyard - Ed Fringe

Review by Carly Fisher


Making her solo debut at the Edinburgh Fringe, Annabel Marlow brings a relatable, youthful, funny hour of storytelling and original music to the stage.


Marlow’s comedy is quite self-deprecating which is a comedic form that, let’s be honest, tends to always work when in the hands of a skilled performer. And Marlow is certainly skilled! Though I thought that this show was very good, I definitely think I expected even more from this talented performer (particularly after seeing her in Public just the day before), but let’s get to that.


The show opens with a voice over conversation between Annabel and her ‘mum.’ It’s an endearing way to the start the show and is quite refreshing when compared to the number of comedians I’ve heard introduce themselves on a microphone backstage at this fringe. The conversation sees her mum push her to go on stage and share this show with her audience - as I said, a very cute way to start the show! The audience is instantly ready to oblige when they are told to scream the house down for Marlow and you can tell, everyone in this room is so ready for a great hour!


Marlow’s songs feel like they are from the conversations that you have with friends, or on social media. They are very current and, as such, very relevant to her audience. She sings about everything from overthinking (definitely loved this song!), to boys, to experiences at the dr when getting an implant. There is so much to laugh about through each of the songs because the way that Marlow delivers them is just perfect - she has her finger on the pulse of the comedy throughout.


My favourite of all of her songs was actually behind the strings of her guitar, rather than the keys of her piano. Playing guitar, she sings of a year in lockdown spent living with best friends and of a secret relationship brewing in the house. It is a beautiful song that I would listen to often if on Spotify!!


Marlow’s voice is fantastic - smooth riffs, great musicality and a lovely belt. Though you can hear that her voice is becoming strained by the chaos of the festival (and of doing two performances back to back on top of it), she pushes through like a consummate professional - I’ll listen to anything that she sings!


The dialogue between songs is not nearly as strong as the lyrics and musicianship on display. In an attempt to be totally at one with her audience, Marlow has seemingly left much of the show unscripted and whilst the intimacy of liveness is exciting, there is also not really any story line or messaging behind the show. Admittedly, Marlow begins the show by telling you that in a show that is about her life, she really hasn’t been through all that much. Whilst I found it endearing when she first said that, I found that as the show progressed, the lack of narrative did not work in her favour as it led to a lot of ‘umms’ and moments where she seemed less sure of herself.


With talent like that which Marlow possesses, there is much to be sure about! So here is what I am sure about - I am sure that this was a really good debut solo show but I am positive that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg of what Marlow can achieve in the solo musical-comedy format…she is a natural in this style, now its time to see how far she can take it.


So I hope that she will push her next solo show even further - and then I’ll be back in the front row seat ready to cheer her on again!

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