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Review: Gaping Hole (Story #3) (Ovalhouse)

Holes. Movie plot holes. Sexual holes. Personal plot holes. Big. Gaping. Holes.

It’s a Demolition Party, the end of an era for Ovalhouse in its Kennington home before they start their new journey in Brixton. The building looks like it is safely falling apart. Holes fill the stage of the tiny upstairs theatre, and I wonder where Rachel Mars and Greg Wohead are going to perform. Beams of light and haze ooze through the gaps in the floor, and before long two heads emerge, popping up and down, like the smash hammer games you get at an arcade.

Intense flashes of strobe and music fill the room, as Rachel and Greg magically appear and disappear through the gaps in the floor. Greg pulls and pulls on a rope, until he suddenly stumbles and falls through a hole in the wall. A hole in the wall that stimulates the first of many plot holes that need filling.

In Shawshank Redemption, how did Andy perfectly place the poster back onto the wall, after breaking out of prison? Rachel is soon reciting her version of the untold story from a little green book. She explains how Milo the mouse helped Andy perfectly stick the poster back onto the wall, through months of hard training and sticky tape stuck to his paws.

The play goes onto explore various different movie plot holes, from classic Disney films, such as Ariel and Beauty and The Beast, to the ongoing Titanic debate. Why didn’t Rose let Jack onto the plank of wood, when there was clearly enough room? Like Rachel did before, Greg reads his account from the little green book. I feel as if I’m listening to soft porn, as Greg graphically describes Jack’s love affair with the sea creature Riz, who has saved him from his untimely death. It’s perhaps too graphic to describe, so let’s just say Greg manages to fill Jack’s plot hole in more ways than one.

After comically filling movie plot holes, with their vivid imaginations, the play takes a rather sincere turn. What about the plot holes we find in our own lives, those significant turning points, or longings into the future? The following uses green screen and film, to highlight the distance between these two friends, as we see them sat in their offices at home. Rachel reminisces about the time she broke up with her boyfriend, after sleeping with a woman in Paris. It’s incredibly honest, and although she tries to re-write the event with Greg, we realise that our personal plot holes don’t always need filling. They make us who we are today.

Greg pictures his horrific death, lying on the bathroom floor, swimming in a pool of his own urine and diarrhoea. The epitome of death and decay. Their personal plot holes bring tears to my eyes.

Thankfully the piece cheers up, in a bid to physically fill all the holes within the space itself. It has a nice cyclical structure, ending back at Shawshank Redemption, as the pair try to exit through the hole in the wall, whilst terribly failing to stick Andy’s poster back onto the wall from the other side.

Gaping Hole is a beautiful exploration of the demolishing space, around the two very talented theatre makers. Their writing is exquisite, so descriptive that you can picture every detail in your head. As good as the writing is, I’d like to see the pair not so physically attached to it, to break away from the little green book and clipboards of text, and to fully engage with the audience. Despite this, they take the audience on a real journey, with humour, to realisation, and self-discovery. If you are a fan of fan-fiction and plot holes, then this piece is definitely for you.

Catch Gaping Hole (Story #3) at the Ovalhouse, until 23rd November. Tickets are available here:

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