Underbelly Med Quad, Edinburgh
Amidst the plethora of standups at the Fringe, character comedy is rather thinner on the ground, but it’s there if you take the trouble to look for it. Maddy Anholt can be found every afternoon at the Underbelly Med Quad, flying the flag for her preferred area of comedy and doing a great job of it. She bounds confidently onto the stage in character as Shazza, a reality TV wannabe, who is totally convinced of her own innate qualities of super-stardom. She presses fan photographs (which she’s had laminated to make them easier to wipe-off!) into the hands of people in the front row and tells us all about her quest to be famous. Shazza is, of course, only the first in a succession of oddball characters Anholt has created for this show; wisely, she doesn’t spend too long in each role, but skips merrily along to the next and the next and the next – with barely a pause for breath.
She’s very good at working the audience. At one point I find myself called up (maybe ordered up, would be more accurate) to perform the role of her husband; I’m made to brush her hair and, let’s face it, that’s not something I get to say in many reviews! Anholt is good at snapping in and out of the various roles she takes on. The standouts are the weirdly aggressive monobrowed zoo keeper, who ends up performing the mating dance of a peacock, and the weird moment when another character channels her ‘inner child,’ morphing into a pouting, giggling little girl – this performance is eerily convincing.
It’s endearingly silly stuff, frivolous and nonsensical, a delightful way to spend an hour at the Fringe.