Hole by Holly Spillar at The Soho Theatre | Review

Hole isn’t happy, she can’t get what she wants and doesn’t know what to do about it. In this new, part stand-up, part gig theatre, part confessional monologue, Hole takes us through the immense difficulty and numerous hurdles of coming to terms with and healing Vaginisis.

Holly Spillar: HoleHole springs onto the stage, a whirlwind of charming awkwardness, Kate Bush vocals and debilitating self-awareness. The Hole we meet at the top of the show is anxious, and excited by the prospect of university, but overwhelmingly aware of her body’s rejection of anything going into her vagina. After an awful encounter with a ‘film bro’ called Gareth, who is as bad as you could possibly imagine, Hole thinks about trying to do something to help make her feel better in her body.

But this is inevitably complicated, male doctor after male doctor tells her to do anything from relax to drink wine, both of which prove fruitless, obviously. The beacon of hope that appears through the clouds is to actively request a female doctor. The female doctor provides the baby-steps of support, before referring her to the great challenge, therapy.

Holly Spillar’s debut show has the touch of a veteran, playing with her audience who are her side from the moment the nervous and odd character of Hole appears in the theatre. She is extraordinarily relaxed on stage, at times a little too fast with her jokes, and things get lost, but the energy of absurdity, frustration and relatability carry the piece to become quite moving in its conclusion.

Spillar’s calling card is her musical talent. Punctuating the show is a series of musical numbers that are, if a little formulaic, very funny. Spillar has an acute ability to point out odd but debilitating difficulties with being unhappy in your own body. It is a little obvious the moment the show starts, but the Bjork and Bo Burnham love child that is this show wears its influences on its sleeve.

The piece does get a little prescriptive at the end of the night, essentially stopping the show to hammer home the moral of the show. And while all points made by Spillar about funding, education and research all resonate, the 50 minutes of the show before that had already guided the audience to that very conclusion.

Regardless of all that, Spillar is very funny, her jokes are cleverly written and expertly delivered, and is an exciting young performer to be watched. HOLE tells a strong story with flair and chutzpah, not much more I could ask for.

4 stars

Review by Tom Carter

After a diagnosis of vaginismus (a condition preventing penetrative sex) HOLE showcases the determination of one woman to achieve the basic, beige sex life of her dreams, with only a little red loop pedal for company. Once described as ‘Tim Minchin bumping into Kate Bush at full speed’ this tightly packed one-woman show is full of unexpected advice from doctors, Joe Rogan-obsessed boyfriends and a whole lot of holes.

British Comedy Guide Best Reviewed Shows at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Dramaturg: Ben Francombe

Holly Spillar: HOLE
Tue 2 – Wed 3 Apr 2024

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