As you’ve probably gathered by now, here at The Velvet Onion we’re more than a tad giddy about the UK release of Sightseers. There are many, many things about the film that make it worthy of merit, not the least of which is the rather wonderful person who plays Tina, the female lead. For anyone who’s unfamiliar with her work, please allow us to introduce you to the writer-actor-comedian-singer-performer extraordinaire, Alice Lowe:
© Big Talk Pictures
If you’re a regular reader of TVO you’ll be aware of Alice’s more recent projects (of which there are many); what you may not fully appreciate, however, is how many seminal comedy happenings (and comedy people)she’s been involved with during her career.
Sightseers isn’t Alice’s first time in a feature film; she’s even played another Tina in a film before, in Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz. Alice also appeared briefly in Ben Wheatley’s previous release, Kill List.
But let’s start back at the beginning, before the movie roles. Alice started out co-creating and performing in surreal experimental theatre shows such as City Haunts, Snowbound and Progress In Flying Machines with David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Since she first graced our TV screens in 2004 in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace as Madeleine Wool/Dr. Liz Asher, Alice’s TV appearances read like a ‘Best of British Comedy’ roll call. There have been parts in the Mighty Boosh (as Monkey in Priest & The Beast), The IT Crowd (as Patricia in Fifty-Fifty), Snuff Box (as David Bowie), This is Jinsey (as Soosan Noop) and Man to Man with Dean Learner - plus roles in game-changing TV shows such as Little Britain, Pulling, Horrible Histories, Skins and Black Books, amongst others.
She also wrote and starred in E4’s overlooked comedy series Beehive (take a look here for our review of the show if you want to know more). Plus, she’s performed with the likes of Rob Brydon, Harry Enfield and Katy Brand in their various TV outings. So far so impressive.
© Jackal Films
For anyone unfamiliar with Alice’s comedy acting skills, for a quick immersion session we’d recommend a gander at Jackal Films creative output. In 2010 Alice teamed up with director Jacqueline Wright to produce and release a short film per month – that’s twelve shorts in total.
The quality and range of the films is truly impressive, as are Alice’s performances – take a look at them all here. You can also see some other shorts that Alice features in by clicking on this.
Impressive stuff, but one could argue that her talents are best experienced live, where her uncanny ability to portray the unhinged and yet also sing like an angel, really come to the fore. She was part of Ealing Live in the early/mid-2000s, an experimental comedy group where many of the UK’s finest (i.e. the artists that we write about) started their stand-up careers; take a look at the column on the right of this page and you can see who was involved.
Since then Alice has performed on stage with many of her contemporaries, and we’ve been lucky enough to see her live on a number of occasions, most recently at Oram & Meeten’s Club Fantastico, where she truly shone. Alice and her co-star in Sightseers, Steve Oram, also performed together during Steve Coogan’s 2007 tour, and some would argue that their supporting role, filling in between Coogan’s character changes, provided some of the funniest moments of the show.