Maddy Anholt – Herselves (2 stars)

This article is from 2017.

Maddy Anholt – Herselves

credit: Karla Gowlett

A clumsy and predictable multi-character show with glimpses of quality

There's little point in denying that Maddy Anholt has comic acting talent in spades but her multi-character assault here is just too low on decent gags to fly. Shazz, a predictably delusional reality-TV 'celeb' from a little-watched ITV digital channel show entitled On the Pole and On the Dole, kicks proceedings off in Herselves while there's more success to be had with plain old Sarah Barker, a radio-station cleaning lady who ends up being DJ for a day.

In terms of originality, Anholt strikes absolute gold with the woman trapped in a corner while attempting to deliver her Agoraphobia Hour podcast. But for the most part, the creations limp along with only the odd moment maintaining the crowd's flagging interest. Still, everyone perks up dramatically when Hardeep Singh Kohli is brought up on stage as a 'volunteer' to polish her nails in a routine about a female polygamist.

There's no law against it, of course, but some unwritten Fringe edict about getting a fellow performer up on stage feels as though it must have been broken here (especially when it concerns someone who has actually co-written and directed one of your previous Edinburgh shows). However, there should definitely be legislation put in place to prevent multi-character acts from attempting to bring all their creations together in a final-scene compilation. Maddy Anholt is not the only one to attempt it at this year's Fringe but no one has succeeded in making it feel anything less than clumsy.

Underbelly Med Quad, until 27 Aug, 1.30pm, £9.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).

Maddy Anholt – Herselves

  • 2 stars

Maddy Anholt/Corrie McGuire for ROAR Comedy/Moneybox Character comedian Maddy Anholt returns following five-star sell-outs at the Edinburgh Fringe and the Soho Theatre with a brand spanking new and hilarious hour that delves into her surreal and sparkly world of outlandish characters. As seen on BBC Two's Sunny D and…


1. FringeBinge23 Aug 2017, 12:49pm Report

Perhaps this wonderful show isn't aimed at grumpy men like Brian Donaldson. It would be nice if the List could send along someone of the appropriate demographic to review shows, as the audience were screaming with laughter at the performance I attended. I notice that virtually every other review of Herselves has been fabulous. Here's a typical example today -

WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2017 EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Maddy Anholt - Herselves at the Underbelly Clover

Behind every woman is not just one character. There are a collection of weird and wonderful personalities just dying to be heard. At least that’s what Maddy Anholt will have you believe in her new show, Herselves. Luckily for the audience, the women wanting to be heard from Anholt are brilliant.

This one woman stand up, character comedian and at times improv artist had the world out against her the day I saw the show but she batted every problem off with ease and hilarity. Mic problems? Don’t worry, one of her characters, Shazza, relied on her two days of drama school training and projected her chavvy heart out. Got a heckler that won’t give up? Just get the crazed zoo keeper dressed as peacock to give him one of the most disturbing lap dances he’ll ever receive. Or if someone decides to eat a full meal during your show, give them a blow-up phone half way through their mouthful and tell them it’s time for audience call in on double yolk eggs. Granted, these disruptions won’t happen every show, but Anholt’s beautiful comic timing made you think she’d planned them all along.

My favourite characters of the hour had to be a woman who collects husbands named Norman (subsequently getting two audience members to brush her hair and paint her nails), and another character’s inner child. It’s this moment when the child is skipping away with glee when you realise just how talented Maddy Anholt is. She commands the stage for an hour and showcases such a range of personalities and voices that you start to think there’s got to be someone else backstage too. It’s easy to see that Anholt will be big very, very soon.

Review by Georgia Rix

Rating: ★★★★

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