Annabel Marlow... Is This Okay?? | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Annabel Marlow... Is This Okay??

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

In her Edinburgh debut, 24-year-old Annabel Marlow appears to be setting out her stall to be a spokeswoman for Gen Z, or at least a certain part of it.

‘I haven’t been through a lot,’ she says. ‘I’ve had no struggle.’ She mentions a pushy stage mum forcing her to perform, but that turns out to be a mere theatrical framing device. Meanwhile, Dad’s so supportive he’s in the audience tonight. She’s got an armful of drama qualifications and has already starred in a hit musical, Six, when it exploded on to the Fringe in 2017, when she was still a teenager.

Yet despite such advantages, Marlow is an overthinker with a raft of frustrations and insecurities, some of which she tries to address with ill-advised sexual encounters. Many of her demographic are likely to identify. She admits to guilty yearning for the enforced simplicity of lockdown, confined to a houseshare with her uni mates, not having to deal with the messy complexities of the outside world..

She puts her vulnerabilities into songs covering the likes of toxic relationships, break-up sex and the sarcastic I Love Being A Relaxed Person. Her funniest number is about dating two men during lockdown – both graphic designers, amusingly - which offers a wry commentary on this unsatisfactory situation.

All the songs are introspective - that is what Gen Z is like, after all – and several have no comic intent, just an earnest singer-songwriter getting her emotions out.

Sometimes Marlow projects a wide-eyed innocence, but the self-analysis has made her world-weary beyond her years. Why does she have such high expectations of herself but such low expectations of men, she philosophies. But such self-awareness does not make her any less awkward in almost any situation.

While there are few hard punchlines, this is all told – or more often sung – with droll candour that’s entertaining and relatable.

As you might hope, Marlow is a fine musician, with compositions ranging from upbeat musical theatre-type numbers with tricksy, fast-paced lyrics and elegant rhymes to tender, moving ballads. She stumbles over the words a little more than you might expect, but it’s still early days at the Fringe.

Indeed, the whole show doesn’t quite the finished product, with Marlow still figuring out what she wants to be as a person, let alone artistically. But she has skip-loads of talent and a willingness to explore and exploit her emotions for entertainment that will stand her in fine stead.

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Review date: 9 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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