Holes at the Arcola Tent
Stranded on a desert island, four plane crash survivors – three bored office workers and a nubile teenage girl – contemplate survival in the most comedic manner while addressing some of life’s greater issues: Louboutins, Pythagoras’ Theorem and of course the apocalypse.
Holes descends on the Arcola Tent, the most unassuming but spectacularly set up DIY venue in East London, powered by the award-winning combination of writer Tom Basden (Peep Show and Fresh Meat) and director Phillip Breen (The Merry Wives of Windsor). This fanciful desert island adventure takes place in a large sandpit in the Arcola Tent, with audience members encircled in a circus-like aesthetic.
Holes kicks off with razor-sharp comedy; it’s laugh-a-minute from the get-go and the audience audibly agree. Elizabeth Berrington revels in her role as micro-managing HR manager, Marie, consistently and dynamically bouncing off main protagonist and star of the show Daniel Rigby. Rigby (recognisable as Simon the Student in the BT adverts) shines in his role as the David Brent-like, self-appointed leader of the island. Deadly serious with echoes of Tim Key’s dead-pan delivery, he is alpha male facing his beta adversary, Mathew Baynton, playing Gus – sarcastic and infuriated to be in this situation with such banal characters. Gus delightfully narrates the constant vapid interactions between Ian and Marie, delivered with eloquent wit and sneering acumen.
The second half of the show descends into a dystopian nightmare, though still comedic, ending in teenage pregnancy and murder. Holes begins as The Office and contorts into Lord of The Flies. A previous hit with Edinburgh Festival audiences, Holes looks destined to leave the same mark on London. This hilarious desert island comedy drama adds as fresh spin to this potentially overused setting. At a time when a show about a plane crash could not be less comedic, Holes shines as a witty and intelligent contemporary adventure tale, a black comedy, which, though slightly risqué at times, pleases an audience thirsty for something fresh with its boundless ingenuity.
Holes is at the Arcola Tent until 9th August 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.