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Colin Hoult: Enemy Of The World

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Corry Shaw

The mind of Colin Hoult is a strange, dark and fascinating place. A destination that has to be experienced to be understood in an hour of weird, twisted and pitch-black humour. And it is a complete joy to experience.

A fantasy world filled with unique and bleak characters, the flavour is very much The League of Gentlemen but the content is completely Hoult. This is a cavalcade of the bizarre and the wonderful, and it is truly captivating.

Complete with backing band, smoke machine and meters of swish red velvet, Hoult launches headfirst into his performance with a ballad to the baby Hitler and welcomes us to his 'Parthenon of Hell'. There is something distinctly otherworldly about the show. But far from being a place of eternal torture it is a place of warped beauty and joy.

Even the simplest ideas have a surreal slant. The story of a bullying victim is repeated several times throughout the show by changing characters, starting with a schoolkid and moving through to a patient in a care home. Each occasion ends with the unexplained presentation of a potato to the bully. Very odd but the surreality is balanced perfectly with pathos and humour.

We also meet Andy Parker, an ex soldier from Nottingham who presents us with his screenplays which he is convinced will crack Hollywood. The deconstruction of the slasher genres is superb and Hoult's portrayal of the character never slips.

There is an awkward moment where a member of the audience is persuaded to join the band to provide percussion for a singalong about The Boogeyman, but a clever twist immediately relieves the tension and has the whole crowd belting out the strange number.

A couple of sections don't work quite as well and the momentum is somewhat lost when theatre darling Anna Mann – a stereotype which is overly parodied – takes centre stage to plan a musical called Pigs In Blankets. This character, returning from last year, just feels a bit too obvious and stale and stands out against Hoult's more believable creations.

Despite this one glitch Hoult has produced a unique, dark and highly entertaining hour of strange beauty which is a welcome break from some of the more traditional comedy shows on the Fringe.

Review date: 26 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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