Edinburgh Fringe Series: Colin Hoult/Anna Mann: 'Sketchshow for Depressives'

Edinburgh Fringe Series: Colin Hoult/Anna Mann: 'Sketchshow for Depressives'

Feeling rather hungover and broken inside, Colin Hoult’s ‘Sketchshow for Depressives’ appeals to me before I even enter the venue. Dressed in drag, Hoult portrays a pretentious but winning woman, Anna, who is pretending to put on a sketch show to help the depressed. Complex, isn’t it? Yet interesting, a satirising of even meta-theatre that is absurd, undeniably original and hysterical from the offset.

His persona, Anna, is depicted perfectly, appealing simply because it is drag that is not overplayed. His tongue-in-cheek character has the traditional bright blue eye shadow, but that is as pretty much it. She is a well developed character with a huge backstory that makes her hilarious but believable. This is not just a one off either; Hoult’s abilities to imitate are perfectly displayed in sketch after sketch.

Yet, audience interaction is easily Hoult’s strength. Nicknaming and gently bullying from the moment he takes to the stage, he turns any mediocre answer to his direct questions into a joke, proving himself to be a naturally gifted comic. However, the concept of his performance is quite cutting edge (and therefore simultaneously offensive) and at one point, a joke does not go down well with a couple of members of the audience; Hoult manipulates the event into a cause for even greater hilarity. He is a true performer.

I hate to say it, but due to the excellence of his improvisation, it is difficult to keep up with the chronology of his original script. Busy giggling about his spontaneous mockery of the front row, I occasionally have to cast my mind back to try and remember just why Anna Mann is running around pretending to be a male snob. Yet, Hoult’s most original feature is the addition of his two helpers. Opening his script up by providing more individuals to mock, he keeps the piece dynamic and ambitious. By having other bodies on stage, Hoult uses this chance to change the audience’s focus every so often; he is able to keep it fresh and stop them from getting bored of looking at the same man and his eyeshadow for a whole hour.

A five-star performance even without the assistance of a particularly quirky and gregarious audience, Hoult’s sketch show is lively, engaging and thoroughly entertaining in the most unexpected way. A little of everything – self-deprecation, puns, a cheeky bit of sexual referencing– whatever your humour, Hoult’s show has it. And in case the fact that he cured my hangover makes me biased in Hoult's favour, the standing ovation he receives proves his humour is applicable for, and appealing to, all.

****

Kate Nicholson

Original Post: http://edfringereview.com/r/V5Dr9yP4QwGIbg_VXDx6yg