JUST two weeks after the release of her fourth studio album, Love + Fear, Marina (formerly Marina & the Diamonds) brought her bold show to Bournemouth’s O2 Academy last night, WRITES OLLIE TUNMORE

With no support act, fans were greeted by a large blue and white visual backdrop simply stating the album name. Marina surprise-released ‘LOVE’ weeks before the full release, in order to give fans a chance to digest the first half of the album ahead of tour beginning.

Opening the show with ‘Handmade Heaven’, the first single to be released from this era, and then continuing to play her first major single ‘Hollywood’ (complete with pom-poms and high kicks) the show started with a colourful, pop-fuelled bang.

Departing from her previous, more stripped back shows (typically including a band and little else) this tour is clearly elevated and has been produced to portray Marina’s growth creatively both as a person and as an artist. The set design was simple yet incredibly effective. Marina performed most songs on a raised platform, whilst her four dancers performed theatrical, dramatic pieces to accompany the vocals. The show was split into two halves – one titled ‘Love’ and one titled ‘Fear’, which Marina clarified was a purposeful decision to show “the happier, love-focused” tracks in the first half, and the more fearful, darker tracks in the second.

Briefly putting her stunning vocals aside; the stand out aspect of the evening was the creativity behind the show. From the colours of the costumes through to the graphics projected on to the stage, the show felt theatrical, camp if you will – and Marina appeared to feel at home on this stage. Progressing through the first half to play fan-favourites ‘Primadonna’ and ‘I am Not a Robot’, fans warmly received the few words Marina had to share in between songs.

Finishing the ‘Love’ section of the show, she then left the stage (to change costumes), leaving fans with beautiful visuals projected on stage to help transition then to the ‘Fear’ segment of the production. Throughout both halves, fans are treated to performances from across all four albums. Whereas some artists sometimes attempt to depart from their earlier work, in order to show their growth and promote more recent albums, Marina proudly showcases songs from her decade-long career.

Changing from a beautiful orange body suit with ruffled over-dress, Marina reappears in a bold red latex body suit and knee-high boots to perform the more ‘fearful’ side of the show. Performing new song ‘Life is Strange’, the deep synths and electronic tone reminds me of her darker era ‘Electra Heart’, which was filled with emotional, complex tracks portraying the life of a second ego.

Continuing to perform a mix of old and new, Marina lets her dancers and the visuals of the show take centre stage while she performs on a small, white piano to the left of the stage. Giving nothing short of breath-taking vocals, one thing is for sure in amidst the change of her album eras, her voice and vocal range is her greatest asset as a stage performer. She is not afraid to put her own stamp on her work and tackle life’s issues head on stage too. At one point of the show, ‘Actually – guns do kill people’ was written across the backdrop of the stage – showing her belief in using her platform to tackle social and political issues.

Concluding the second half and returning to be greeted by chanting and wild applause from her fans, Marina performed an encore of ‘End of the Earth’ and finished the evening with the original heartbreak anthem, ‘How to be a Heartbreaker’. Performing with all four dancers, glowing light beams, colourful visuals and mass-audience participation to sing the last track, the show finished on a powerfully energetic and sass-filled high.

After taking an almost four-year hiatus from music, Marina has been open and honest about her hesitance to return to music. She feared for her own enjoyment of her work, her mental health and the practicality of her day to day life when working in the music industry. Now in 2019, however, Marina has returned as a stronger, more asserted person than she has been before, who is confident in her ability, creativity and execution of her ideas.