Maddy was interviewed by JoAnne Good on 26th July 2011 on BBC Radio London
UK THEATRE NETWORK
Review of Maddy’s Many Mouths
By Maddy Anholt
The Canal Cafe Theatre, 03/08/11
When porn obsessed public school boy, Thomas Prism (Elliot Hadley) takes it upon himself to interview 12 women for his GCSE coursework, he doesn’t know what he’s let himself in for. Move over Alec Guinness, enter Maddy Anholt, impersonator extraordinaire. Over the course of the next hour we are introduced to a spectrum of sexy, shy, and insane women from all over the world, each one weirder than the last. Anholt’s ability to change roles is nothing short of phenomenal, her incredible talent for accents allowing her to switch character with consummate ease. Anholt excels at exhibiting feminine characteristics that the audience can identify with, from femme fatales to plain freaks, the dozen women are all scarily accurate. From the extreme male manipulation of Paloma Freel, all the way from Australia, aka Cougar town, to an unsettlingly authentic portrayal of little girl, Rebecca Sutherton, probing her Barbie; Anholt’s depictions are highly perceptive and consistently amusing.
Take sultry, yummy mummy, Saffron Uncaged, whose recent discovery of Buddhism seems more influenced by red wine than red robes, or the intense scientific, self examination of Dr Steely White, an American woman who would make your think twice of ever going to visit a psychiatrist. Anholt requires only a single prop to suggest her new incarnation, a wine glass will do for Saffron, lab coat for Dr Steely. Combined with Anholt’s brilliant accents and mannerisms, the objects become charged with the life of the characters, signalling the arrival of even more outlandish women.
Anholt’s portrayl of Muslim rude girl, Shariah Salaf is a hilarious send up of a ubiquitous presence on the top deck of a London bus. Anholt demonstrates through exaggeration the intrinsic humour of a character that we can all recognize. Only in the melting pot of London is it possible to see such contradictions in religion and attitude, and the effect of cultural influence on upbringing.
Anholt works best when she’s portraying dominant women. South African, Adrianna Van Niekerk for example is so overpowering you think she was going to put you in a headlock. Her way of speaking coincides brilliantly with her lifestyle. Dating for her makes her feel like she’s in a game reserve, with men seeing women like meat. Never one to mince her words, Niekerk is a tremendous character who has great potential. The more submissive roles such as the hermit, Edna Davies and the bespectacled Penny Saxton worked well, but were overshadowed by their more assertive counterparts. One difficulty Anholt faces, is in adapting the speed of such an energetic piece to find the right pace for the more submissive roles.
Elliot Hadley provides fine support, in the form of sex obsessed, public school boy, Thomas Prism, whose life lessons have him mopping his brow with excitement. The emphasis on sex jokes was perhaps a little too obvious and the women themselves were so intrinsically entertaining, they didn’t really need so many of Prism’s puerile comments.
Maddy’s Many Mouths is a fantastically entertaining show, which allows Anholt a perfect vehicle for her incredible talent for impersonation and accents. It is highly impressive to see one woman capable of portraying a dozen, without ever relying simply on stereotype, rather, she exploits the stereotypes to create fully fledged characters. It will be intriguing to see how Maddy’s Many Mouths develops, who knows with a bit of luck, rude girl, Shariah Salaf could be morphing into six year old Rebecca Sutherton next time you turn on your telly.
Interview with Maddy Anholt for Maddy's Many Mouths
Maddy's Many Mouths is a fast paced, short comedy about the lives of 12 very different women, seen through the eyes of porn obsessed, public schoolboy, Thomas Prism. This is the first play by actress and script-writer, Maddy Anholt, who plays all the female characters. She has recorded a version for Radio and hopes to bring the show to TV. I caught up with her to learn a bit more about her play.
So how did it start out?
It started off as a one woman piece about an American Doctor, talking about her thesis on multiple personality disorder, but it turns out all the women are in her! That was the idea I took around to many comedy venues but I got the feedback that this isn't going to go very far because I was taking the piss out of mental health issues. I never thought of it like that, I just wanted a foundation to bring these characters from. Thomas Prism came about as a result of this, as someone to work from. I used to play the boy.
How do you write?
When I write, I just start talking out loud in an accent and pick up the character's gestures and ways of speaking. I took a nanny job and every day I would sit in their £1.3 million house and just speak in all these different accents. I had a list of about 40 or so women from the book that I carry round with me and I sat down one day and picked the 12 strongest, most different women. All the characters have bits of me. Some are based on people I've met.
Could you tell me a little about the characters?
I've been working on the characters for years, its an organic process. I never wanted it to be about a heavily scripted piece. We've got an outrageously confident Aussie women, Paloma Freel, whose massively overbearing and really in love with herself, she's 27. My model for her was Dolly Parton. She's got this thing called the Paloma Package. (puts on Aussie accent) She gets rid of their wives and kids, takes the house and drops them after that. Saffron, (puts on a sultry voice) is like a yummy mummy who's discovered Buddhism, but she's absolutely pissed all the time. She came up with this idea for a company, to fill the missing bits of people's jigsaw puzzles, it's called, “I'll Fill Your Hole”. But a lot of these women come from really tragic backgrounds. It's human nature to find pleasure in other people's misfortune. It's not a feminist piece at all, I never intended it to be. It's like an overview of women in general in society.
When did you discover you had a talent for accents?
My mum's Irish and we've got like 46 cousins and family all over the world. Every Christmas we have a gathering and having people from all over the world influenced me. Even when I was really small, I found it quite easy to mimic people off TV or radio. It wasn't a conscious thing. It wasn't till actually quite later when I realized I could use this.
So what happened to the radio version?
It's a good radio piece but it lost a lot visually. 3 or 4 production companies wanted to put in on, but it didn't get broadcast because I didn't have complete control of it and I just wasn't happy with it. I basically want it on TV, like a TV series based around 12 women. I've written episodes. So this one's about Relationships and Careers. The women let rip about every detail of their sex lives to a 16 year old boy and then that moves onto careers. It's excellent on stage, but I greedily want to share it with as many people as possible. I think its got the potential to affect a lot of people, not only the women themselves but their boyfriends and husbands, sitting next to them saying “thats' what you do!” So far its been the fastest selling show at The Canal Cafe Theatre. We're gonna do the Camden Fringe this year and we're thinking of taking it to Edinburgh Festival next year so we'll see what happens.
Maddy's Many Mouths debuts at The Canal Cafe Theatre in Little Venice on Weds 3 Aug
To book tickets please call 0207 289 6054
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“They asked me to do a radio version of it but it wasn’t quite how I wanted it to be because it was still evolving.