Colin Hoult / Anna Mann In How We Stop the Fascists at Soho Theatre
A string of comedy skits masquerading as a one-woman show, How We Stop the Fascists is a misleadingly joyful performance written and acted by Colin Hoult. Neither the left nor the (alt-)right emerge from it unscathed, and rightly so. However, while the subject matter is heavy, Hoult’s writing is too clever by half, and he handles it with ease.
Hoult performs How We Stop the Fascists as his female alter-ego Anna Mann. Posh, flirty and, in her own words, “the greatest actress of her generation”, Mann would not be at all out of place arm in arm with Edina and Patsy in a particularly salacious episode of Ab Fab. But with almost unnerving ease, Hoult/Mann transforms into a menagerie of different characters; from the hate-filled Geordie pensioner, to the Nottingham yob who just wants men to be men, and women to be fit.
Perhaps Ms Mann was a tad nervous towards to beginning of the show, because How We Stop the Fascists gets off to a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it start. Soon enough, though, the pace evens out just enough for the audience to keep up, and the result is very entertaining.
Half of the time, Mann’s character studies highlight the overall ridiculousness of the fascists she embodies, rather more than their actual political views and motives. This is an interesting choice, because on one hand, it’s amusing (and arguably valid at times) to view people with damaging political views as simply miserable, uneducated, or sexually frustrated. On the other, the glaring truth is that the root and rise of fascism can be a little more complicated than that. However, this is a comedy show, not a sociology thesis, and as the former, How We Stop the Fascists is great fun.
Photo: Berks Nest
Colin Hoult / Anna Mann In How We Stop the Fascists is at Soho Theatre from 25th until 30th September 2017. For further information or to book visit the Soho Theatre website here.