Maddy's Many Mouths

Fri 2nd – Sat 10th August 2013


Amber Segal

at 03:55 on 9th Aug 2013



I’m glad I did not read the spoiler-heavy event description before going to see Maddy’s Many Mouths, as the surreal twists and turns of plot are one of the triumphs of this one-woman show. Bursting with characters, Maddy Anholt enthrals her audience with a fast-paced and unpredictable life story.

A slang-wielding, hoodie-clad teen begins the monologue in her early youth but quickly transforms before our eyes many, many times over. The comedy is spot on. Risqué at times, touching at others, and downright odd in several places, Maddy’s performance displays not only vocal skill but also a keen eye for both physical and lyrical wit. A moment of semi-consensual audience participation had me in hysterics, as did some of the ‘blink and you’ll miss them’ quips.

The speed of the show can sometimes feel a little manic; arms are waved expressively throughout and sometimes Anholt seems to forget to breathe. Nevertheless, the swift changes are impressive and each more surprising than the last; her energy never once wanes.

As she is not doing impressions but rather impersonations, there are undertones to the comedy about finding an identity and the limitations of modern day female role-models. Whether these subject matters interest you or not, the characters are delivered with such hilarity that they can be ignored or relished, depending on personal preference.

The real star of the show is Anholt’s vocal range. Many Mouths is a truly apt title, as her voice conjures strong images of the imagined figures throughout. Some of the accents and tone do slightly slip after their initial introduction, but never beyond recognition. The true pièce de résistance is the combination of all characters into one speech, showcasing the incredible control she possesses.

The story itself is engaging and has a strong, if absurdist, narrative never becoming overly tangential. Using refrains and clever intonation gives a poetic feel to some of the lines. Although this is never dwelt on, it gave the performance a sense of warmth and elegance. Armed with little other than apparently never-ending Alice-bands, Maddy of the many mouths is a pleasure to watch.


Eliza Plowden

at 09:39 on 9th Aug 2013



I expected Maddy’s Many Mouths to be funny. However, I was not prepared for this one-woman show to be intelligent, perceptive, energetic and so very, very hilarious. It is undisputedly the “side-splitting, breathless performance” it bills itself as, as Maddy Anholt provokes the kind of hysterical laughter that you are lucky to experience at the Fringe.

As you walk into the venue at Surgeons’ Hall, Anholt, already in character as a thuggish, hooded youth, sits smoking centre stage. The opening sketch sets the context for the show; uprooted from her home, the seven-year-old Maddy knows that she must change if she wants to fit in. The show takes us on a journey through the protagonist’s adolescence, as she adopts different personas wherever she goes, an ingenious idea that showcases Anholt’s many talents.

She plays a nerd, a Buddhist, an American doctor, an Irish mother of seven and many, many other parts, perfectly capturing the essence of each persona. Maddy's role as Paloma the Australian gold digger provokes the loudest roars of laughter, as she performs a lap dance for an unsuspecting man on the front row. Anholt could keep us entertained for hours, but she neatly brings the story full-circle after forty minutes, reminding us that this intelligent show has even more to it than a string of hilarious impressions.

The talent required to put on such a wide range of accents is incredible in itself, but combine this with Maddy’s ability to perfectly capture her many characters’ mannerisms and expressions, and you have a recipe for success. Maddy slickly shifts between roles, mastering the stage with such ease that it is easy to forget that this is a one-woman show. It takes a lot of confidence to pull this off, but Maddy doesn’t slow down once, holding her audience enraptured until the very end. Her observational humour is remarkable and, although she may overdo the social stereotypes at times, her accuracy is undeniable. Maddy’s performs each role with such flair that it would be unjust to be offended by her interpretations; it’s clear that her aim is always to provoke laughter and never to offend. My only complaint is that Anholt spends longer on some roles than others; little too much time is given to her South African persona, at the expense of some of the stronger roles.

Wow, Maddy Anholt is a funny girl; I cannot recommend her show enough. Go and see 'Maddy's Many Mouths' if you want forty minutes of Roll On The Floor Laughing entertainment, with a large serving of social comedy and a pinch of emotion. Catch it as soon as you can though, because she's not in town for long.


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