Edinburgh Fringe Review: Holes by Tom Basden

20 Aug

Holes by Tom BasdenWords by Hannah Clapham-Clark

There comes a point in the Fringe when you can’t physically stand to digest another crêpe and the thought of being penned into yet another alcohol filled patch of land fills your with momentary dread. I would, then, very much recommend Holes as the perfect remedy to Fringe fatigue.

Sitting in a coach, having numerous school trip flashbacks, whilst watching the seaside roll by is, by any standard, a lovely way to spend an afternoon. And you get to see a bright, interesting play as well? Bargain!

A catastrophic plane crash has occurred with only four survivors in tact, with three of whom are work colleagues being left stranded with a sixteen year old who lost her parents in the tragedy. After a brief panic, it’s assumed that the whole world has been destroyed and things start getting very tetchy after the last chicken chasseur has been eaten.

Admittedly, it doesn’t sound like a great start to a comedy but within seconds we are laughing due to Tom Basden’s pithy and ruthlessly sharp dialogue. Both broad and subtle, the humour pulls the play along with a pace that is impressive for what could have been a fairly stationary performance.

Each character is accurate and intricate, perfectly depicting the people we all love to hate at work or the family members we get inexplicably annoyed at; From the vapid Marie (Katy Wix), constantly seeking male attention, to Gus (Matthew Baynton), a frustrated loose cannon on the brink of losing his faculties, with Bebe Cave’s portrayal of teenage fragility and misguided obedience finally dismantling the dynamics of this very volatile group.

The play is, however, very much a vehicle to display the sheer brilliance of Daniel Rigby, and rightly so. Seeing the crisis as an opportunity to prove his masculinity and worth, Ian begins to build dams and repopulate the world, one person at a time. He is the archetypal fool, using bravado instead of wits as a means of survival and Rigby excels in depicting this blind confidence and sad insignificance.

As a fascinating, inventive and beautifully performed production, Holes succeeds in epitomising the Fringe’s ability to surprise and push the normal expectation of theatre.

You can see Holes at Assembly at 3pm until 25 August. More information and tickets here, and read our interview with writer Tom Basden here.

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