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Police Academy star Michael Winslow impresses Rosy Moorhead with his vast array of sound effects
Even before the interview begins I know my powers of description are going to be tested to breaking point. And Michael Winslow, Sgt ‘Motor Mouth’ Jones in the Police Academy movies, doesn't disappoint - I’m left scratching my head over how to spell the sound of fish and chips frying.
"There are so many new noises here," says Michael, who is on his first full tour of the UK with his show The Man of 10,000 Voices, "British noises are not American noises." And he launches into a minute-long soundbite of cod in a deep fat fryer, an elderly English lady reprimanding a hedgehog and the BT 1471 woman.
His show is an hour-long whirlwind of sound effects, stand-up, improv and music and was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2011.
"I decided to go into Homebase and buy a used kitchen sink and throw everything in there," he says. "My job is to make sure everybody has a good time and forgets their problems. I get everyone from four-year-olds to 94-year-olds in the audience."
Michael is best known for the seven Police Academy films - the part of Motor Mouth was specially written in by the producers when they saw him performing live at the New York Improvisation Comedy Club - and he also provided the voice of Stripe in Gremlins and starred in National Lampoon’s Robo Doc and Mel Brooks’ Spaceballs. The production of an eighth Police Academy movie has been announced.
"I’m going to do something in it," Michael confirms, "but I haven’t seen the script so I don’t know exactly what yet. It’s a whole new crew and the original executive is back. I hope we’ll get some of that 80s fun back."
As well as being the man who makes all the sounds, Michael is also asked to appraise his fans' own efforts. "There are folks out there waiting at the venues, asking me to check out their noises and all the human beatboxes come out," he laughs. "You'd be surprised how good some of them are."
I have a feeling what's coming next. "You do one," he prompts. No way. "Do a dog," and he demonstrates a yappy terrier. I can just about manage a very pathetic sounding cat. "There you go!" he booms. "Good luck with putting all this in writing!"
The Man of 10,000 Voices is at the Beck Theatre, Grange Road, Hayes on Wednesday, June 27 at 7.30pm. Details: 020 8561 8371, www.becktheatre.org.uk