Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives (4 stars)

An amusingly daft character show from a seasoned Fringe campaigner

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Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives

Can Anna Mann cure depression? It's not much of a spoiler to say she definitely can't. She's not even clear on what it is, but there's something really quite charming and uplifting about this silly little show that ought to cheer anyone up. Colin Hoult, who has a long Fringe history, is a talented actor, here playing a not-particularly capable actress playing character comedy parts.

Or is she? It's a rendition of amateurishness portrayed with lightly worn skill. Are we laughing at the characters or the portrayal of easily-recognised archetypes? Both, probably. It would be easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of layers of meaning, but sometimes a bloke in a dress being amusing and daft is just a bloke in a dress being amusing and daft.

Hoult enjoys playing with language as he very carefully gets audience names just the right kind of wrong, messes around with 'Willy Shakes' Much Ado', and delivers great snippets of showtunes from Anna's roles in such lost classics as Aliens: The Musical. Andrew Bridge and Tom Greaves act as drama student assistants who are very much part of the whole silliness and seem to be having as much fun as Hoult is.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 17), 7pm, £7–£10 (£6.50–£9).

Colin Hoult / Anna Mann: A Sketch Show for Depressives

  • 4 stars

Berks Nest Star of BBC's Murder in Successville and Being Human, Colin Hoult returns as the delightful character Ms Anna Mann in a show to put down your black dog at last or at least chuck him a bone. As seen in Derek, Life's Too Short and creator of BBC Radio 4's Carnival of Monsters. 'Unique and darkly brilliant…

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