As I made my way up the stairs at the back of the Pleasance Courtyard, I was intrigued what I was going to experience as I could overhear Colin, welcoming guests at the door. This turned out to be just a thoughtful gesture and personalised the experience, as if he was welcoming us into his own home. One guest even brought a suitcase and Colin was worried that he might actually be planning to stay.
The show kicked off with him prancing around in his bare feet like an escaped zoo animal treading on hot coals. He launched into an Ian McKellen impression in the corner of the room and told us all to look away, followed by Patrick Stewart, who turned out to be the narrator/compere to break up the set.
Behind the microphone was a large map of Snottingham and it was great to hear about his 7 year old’s mind, creating a version of Nottingham that included a bazaar, a mask shop and the dreaded Kingswood Road. He talked about how his mum encouraged him to use his imagination and include ‘characthorse’ (characters).
Each character we met along the way had funny accents and even ticks. I enjoyed some of the catchphrases and I can see them catching on like ‘cover your bellies’, ‘thrilled to bits’ or ‘love ya babe, is she there?’ I’d love to see Colin on TV with his own series, which could easily be as popular as Little Britain or League of Gentlemen.
When the force of his comedy is up, close and personal though, it is not easy to sit, back and relax, especially when he encouraged us all to get involved at various points with gestures and noises. Some of the audience were clearly uncomfortable but this makes a refreshing change to other Fringe shows. Some of his antics get a little strange though and he even ‘stole’ a few of the audience’s faces to perform their character. I didn’t appreciate how everyone had to make fun of critics and I got the impression that he had been hurt by reviews in the past, but this wasn’t necessary to include in this show.
Overall, I would recommend seeing Colin Hoult and entering his world. It will change your perspective of Poundland and Transformers, as you travel through his rabbit hole to Snottingham and back.
His remaining shows can be booked here: https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/comedy/colin-hoult-characthorse