“Many breads!” hollers Alice Marshall during one of the more interesting segments of her multi-character hour, this one involving a woman of Eastern European extraction who conceals a selection of crusty items about her person. Unfortunately this show feels decidedly half-baked.
The Strike is really a good half-hour, stretched out all too thinly; more of a comedy fajita. Marshall is clearly a hugely talented performer but is stranded with scant material here, and most characters outstay their welcome. Her haughty flight attendant is fun, and the setup for her switches is reasonably effective: lightning strikes the mythical plane, causing us to barrel through time and space.
The show hits trouble as soon as she goes behind the curtain, however. The between-scenes videos are well made, but hardly original: one random sequence features Pierce Brosnan’s infamous rant from the film Taffin, which was milked dry by Adam and Joe years ago. Then it’s onto a hackneyed old Hollywood mini-mogul, who spends far too long rambling on before we belatedly reach the amusing but done-to-death movie re-enactment.
Bread Lady is intriguing but saddled with a curious futuristic backstory, presumably to make her accent less offensive. Perhaps most effective is Marshall's retro housewife, who takes advice from a genuine old manual to keep her borrowed-from-the-audience husband happy. That works, but then just dissolves into dancing, and the whole show eventually fizzles out. Which is a shame, as there are promising ideas here. Let’s all just call it a work in progress and try again next year.