The Death of Anna Mann at The Bill Murray – Review – ★★★★★
A comedy masterclass from Anna Mann, looking back on her legendary life as she approaches the final curtain.
Colin Hoult (who telly addicts might recognise from Murder in Sucessville and Being Human) is Anna Mann: actress, singer, welder (gotta have a back-up) and serial wife. Much more than just your straightforward character comedy persona, Anna Mann is a force of nature! Here, after entertaining us though lockdown with her remorselessly side-splitting Late Night Cheese, Sex & Isolation Party, Anna takes a trip through her storied memoirs – resulting in a total triumph of guffaw-worthy one-liners, mind-bending call-backs and surreal diversions.
The skill of Anna Mann is to take the sublimely ridiculous and make it seem somehow mundane – well, hilariously mundane. There’s barely a split-second of easing-in before Anna launches down a series of anecdotal wormholes, weaving through her experiences of the messed up world of acting, multiple marriages, and Sue Clinch (she’s not well). Challenging stereotypes in and beyond the heady world of being a thespian, Anna is the ultimate feminist survivor – even if she is played by a man!
The whole thing might, to the uninitiated, feels a bit like 70s drag down the working men’s club – but the genius of it is the piss-take of this style comedy, combined with genuine heart which really shines through in the rousing finale.
The ultimate learning point of the show is that the ridiculous can pull us through really dark times. Anna Mann deserves National Treasure status – or at the very least, her own BBC Three special.