Colin Hoult is not a name that has gone unheard of in recent years. His stand up shows consistently receive fantastic praise and Hoult himself is known as an ever-changing and innovative performer. Perhaps the comedian’s most well-known onstage character is Anna Mann, a middle-aged actress grappling with deep loneliness brought about by her struggling career and subsequently, her mental health.
Hoult’s observational eye is finely tuned to detail and this is shown particularly through his sketches within his latest show Anna Mann: A Sketch Show For Depressives; a retrospective look at characters attending a therapy group that Anna Mann recently attended. From Anna’s parody of a lonely elderly woman to that of an increasingly aggressive PE teacher, the mannerisms are uncanny and the most vivid of images are conjured, implying a sharp mind.
Anna Mann plays on underlying audience sympathy by jokingly imagining and replying to responses from the room. She is audacious and often cruel, but genuinely loveable. With more than just a hint of a certain Ms Blanche Dubois, Anna Mann’s flamboyancy is entertaining yet her vulnerability endearing. Hoult is able to explore some of the heaviest of topics, such as mental illness, isolation and suicide, in an inventive way; a way that feels new, exciting and not heavy at all.
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