Character comedian Colin Hoult promises another installment of his theatre-and-comedy blend at this year’s Fringe. Unfortunately, each genre falls short in his frantic sketch show, Inferno.
To begin, I'd like to give kudos to Hoult for the areas in which he performed well. Hoult has a knack for accents and is at his best when he is performing as characters with strong regional dialects; for me, the Mighty Thwor proved most memorable, a Leeds hooligan with an affinity for medieval entertainment and long brown hair any member of Spinal Tap would be proud to rock. Audience engagement reaches a new level at the hands of Hoult and his two black-caped, cackling minions, who immerse themselves in the crowd from start to finish in just about every way they can (expect a game of Fetch that includes mouths and bananas). Another plus: Hoult has a solid singing voice that will have you wanting more.
Given the variety Hoult packs into this show, it’s befuddling that the hour offers no substantial entertainment. From my count, he plays eight to ten characters - not including his cohorts - yet not one of them seems fully formed, an issue that is exacerbated by sloppy segways. Any thoughts that I was the only one feeling more than a little lost were dismissed when two older women snuck out at the earliest chance (seven minutes before the show’s end was seven minutes too long for these ladies), soon to be followed by a young man who couldn’t be bothered waiting for a more subtle opportunity to exit.
“Maybe I am doin’ my own thing,” Hoult says in character, “but at the end of the day I’m doin’ something.” For this I commend him. Nonetheless, apparent as his talent may be, this sketch show just isn’t showcasing it.
Colin Hoult’s Inferno, Pleasance Two @ Pleasance Courtyard, 3-29 Aug (not 16), 7.05 pm
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