Roll up for Colin's carnival time - with a difference!

ROLL UP, roll up - the 'Carnival of Monsters' is coming to town and acclaimed writer and performer Colin Hoult is your ring leader for the evening.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 9:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 9:30 am

Colin's freaky but funny show went down a storm at last year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival and now he's hoping to scare people silly in Berwick when he takes to the stage at The Maltings on Saturday, February 27.

Like last year, the venue's comedy season has once again been a big hit with audiences and appearing after the likes of Laura Solon, Jimmy McGhie and Fergus Craig, Colin has a tough set of acts to follow.

But after getting some tips from Fergus Craig, who also happens to be his former comedy partner in crime, Colin is looking forward to making his Berwick bow and introducing theatregoers to a his band of curious characters.

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"I've got to admit I nicked the title from 'Doctor Who," Colin began.

"When the organisers of the Fringe approach you about doing the festival, they expect you to come up with a title straight away and I thought it fitted the show really well.

"There are some really weird songs in 'Carnival of Monsters' and some equally freaky characters. However, the whole concept is based on real life so the most scary thing is that you could actually meet similar people on the street!

"I base the characters on people I've met - so it's starting to get a bit dodgy with friends coming to watch the show and then being paranoid that one of the characters was inspired by them! But I can promise them that so far I haven't based any on them, although one character, Karate King Len Parker, is from Nottingham, which is where I'm from originally and he is a lot like someone I used to know."

Colin said that 'Carnival of Monsters' is different to what you'd expect from normal stand up comedy, but after studying performing arts at university, a more theatrical show was a natural route to take.

"I started out as an actor and I was never really into comedy in a big way. The only shows I liked watching were things like 'Alan Partridge' where there were good characters to identify with.

"For me, character-based comedy was a natural progression and the monster theme comes from the fact that I was completely obsessed with drawing them when I was about five years old!"

"I don't want to sound pretentious but I like to find the truth in the different characters in my show. As a writer, if you can nail what they're really about then you're there. Then you just have to exaggerate certain details to make things more funny."

Colin admitted that his method of developing characters is by no means traditional and, in fact, he gets most of his inspiration while in the shower!

"I get my best ideas from what I've heard someone say in the street or seen on the TV. When I'm working on characters I try to talk in their voice for a while so I can maintain that persona.

"I'm surprised by how weird things can get and I do a lot of my thinking in the shower when I'm not distracted by anything else. Everything that people see in my shows will have probably have been stuck in my head for ages before I got round to writing it down."

Colin said the key to 'Carnival of Monsters' is audience interaction and added that the best crowds are those who leave their sensible heads at the door and get involved from the off.

He continued: "I try to turn my audience into another person on stage, so they are working alongside me like a double act, rather than against me.

"The worst shows are not the ones where you get lots of loud, drunk people shouting things out, it's the ones where people just sit in their seats and stare up at you. Then you start to question what you're doing there as you feel like a man just standing there for the sake of it."

Fergus Craig has given Berwick audiences a glowing report so if you want to the town to live up to this reputation get yourself along to Colin's 'Carnival of Monsters' and prepare to be humorously horrified.

Tickets are 10/8 concessions (stalls), 12 circle and 14 boxes.