Brighton: Colin Hoult prepares to say farewell to his comedy creation

The Death of Anna MannThe Death of Anna Mann
The Death of Anna Mann
Character comedian, actor and writer Colin Hoult brings his “eccentric, witty and wonderful” alter-ego back into the theatres… for one last time (Nov 10, Brighton Komedia).

The Death of Anna Mann heralds precisely that, the death of Anna Mann – though as Colin admits, it’s going to be a fairly slow and drawn-out death. Colin’s creation Anna is an actress, singer, welder (“gotta have a backup”) and siren of the stage, but her time is coming to an end. Colin is keen to get on with being himself on stage for a change.

But in the meantime, he is looking at grief, a prominent theme throughout this final Anna Mann show: “Anna has always been a vehicle for me to explore things affecting me in real life, from my experiences with depression, to the rise of modern-day fascism (Colin & Anna’s 2017 show How We Stop The Fascists) to grief. My own personal experiences of grief (he sadly lost his brother) and how we learn to deal with it have hugely influenced the story, themes and comedy of this new show”

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Colin, best known for starring in various projects alongside Ricky Gervais including Derek (Channel 4), explained: “Anna is a character that came from a lot of actors and actresses that I have met in green rooms over the years. She came from a wonderful lady that I met when I was doing a radio job. She came in holding a latte and saying ‘I'm so sorry, darlings’ and spilt it everywhere. But she was soon telling us all these amazing stories about her life. It's just the way that she talked about everything. She said ‘I went to see a show and I just sat there greedy with anticipation,’ and I just love that comment. And so I created this character. But absolutely not in a mean way. Really it is a tribute and so I've been doing these shows. I just think that she is a wonderful characterful. She's so confident and strong, this character that I have created. I did a few solo shows in which she was in a mix of other characters. Anna popped up and then my radio shows and then we had the pandemic. It is seven years since I did the first full show about her, and she's certainly developed over the years.

“Originally I just put on this old cardigan and a headscarf and that was enough. I'm not good at doing drag and I don't see it as a drag act. It's more of a character thing but now I've started to add make-up and a wig and so on. I've had three years to write this show and it's got lots of different layers to it. I got diagnosed with ADHD just in the last year but I'd known that I'd had it for the past couple of years but I've realised that Anna doesn't have the fear and the terror of the world that I have developed in some ways. She is just great. The first show I did dealt with depression and then the second one fascism and this one is all about death. These are all heavy sharp subjects but all done through Anna. She talks quite a lot about how we don't talk about it and about the things that we do and she talks about grief. But this is the death of Anna. She finds out that she has had a prognosis that is not good. This is her final show but the problem is that the more successful the show is, the longer death takes. I was hoping to finish by Christmas but we've now got shows going into next year. But I have shows I want to do next year with me being me. But I do want to move on.”

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