Reviewed by Cate Norris
Louis Sachar’s novel Holes, is treasured by many, renowned due to the book itself, as well as Disney’s film adaptation. Adam Penford’s stage adaptation of Holes can only be described as storytelling at its absolute best. Transporting us to scorching, sundried Texas, we discover how socially awkward and falsely accused, Stanley Yelnats (Chris Ashby) came to be at Camp Green Lake – a rehabilitation camp for unruly kids. Alongside the relentless tormenting and cruelty of fellow inmates, Armpit (Henry Mettle), Magnet (Safiyya Ingar) and X-Ray (Ammar Duffus) and the mysterious yet subdued Zero (Pepter Lunkuse), the unlikely grouping are forced to dig holes all day in order to ‘build character’ under the watchful eye of the cold and hard Mr Sir (John Elkington). Only Stanley becomes suspicious when the brutal and callous Warden (Kacey Ainsworth) becomes too interested with what might be in the holes.
Transitioning between past and present, the backstories of Stanley’s ‘no good, dirty, rotten, pig stealing, great, great grandfather’ who caused a curse to be placed upon his family thanks to his interactions with eccentric gypsy, Madam Zeroni; as well as conflict between intimidating Trout Walker (Edward Harrison) and woman scorned, ‘Kissin’ Kate Barlow (Elizabeth Twells), provide insight into how current circumstances arose and slowly allow loose ends to be tied up, whilst thoroughly engrossing attention into the plot. Innovative staging used evolving props, puppetry and physical theatre to change setting and create dramatic scenes. This worked well as the audience were immersed in the story, using their own imagination to envision scenes, and keep up with the constantly reinventing stage. This intensified the experience and was utterly captivating.
Performances were incredibly strong with the cast taking on the responsibility of a number of parts and rising to the challenge with effortless transitioning between even the most contrasting characters. Greg Lockett in particular, stood out for his exceptional portrayal of several different characters to a high standard.
All that is really left to be said is that Penford’s stage adaptation of the modern classic novel Holes, is a breath of fresh air, filling a massive hole if you will, for high quality, dramatic family theatre. An absolute must see.
Tickets cost from £8.50 to £30.50 (booking fees may apply).
Holes is at the Nottingham Playhouse from 31 March to 22 April 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk or call the box office on 0115 941 9419.
Nottingham Playhouse, Wellington Circus, Nottingham, NG1 5AF | 0115 941 9419