Assembly George Square

Edinburgh 2013: Holes - A new play from Tom Basden, one of the UK's most talented young comedy writers

4.00

 

There's an invigorating flair and ambition to Holes, and not just because it begins with a walk along a blustery beach. Audiences are bused out of town to a "secret seaside location", where, following that bracing stroll, they end up seated around a super-sized sandpit, lit by a huge, throbbing orange sun like something out of Tate's Turbine Hall.

Tom Basden's play begins in the immediate aftermath of a plane crash on a faraway tropical island. There are only four survivors - three of them colleagues from DBS (Davidson Business Solutions) on their way to a conference and one unfortunate teenage girl. It's the classic Lost/ Lord of the Flies scenario but the comedy, and later drama, comes from the collision of specifically 21st-century office life with atavistic island survival. Modern man, with his iPads and and HR speak, is not only useless it turns out, he has a chasm in his soul.

That Basden is one of the UK's most talented young comedy writers (his credits include Fresh Meat, Plebs and the 2009 Fringe smash, Party) is clear. His script speeds along, crammed with delicious details about aeroplane chicken chasseur, Duty Free, corporate bonding and Coldplay. If ultimately it takes on a little too much - losing its way in meditations on the nature of Englishness and the essence of personality  - there are also lines so lovely you find yourself smiling at them hours later.

The Invisible Dot has gathered perhaps the finest quartet of comic actors on the Fringe, who make the journey out of town more than worthwhile. Daniel Rigby, Bafta-winning star of Eric and Ernie and One Man, Two Guvnors steals the show as Brent-esque self-nominated leader, Ian. While Katy Wix is hilarious as HR manager Marie, rifling through the suitcases of the dead for designer goods and staggering around the sand in her Louboutin booty. They are ably supported by man-on-the-edge Mathew Baynton (James Corden's partner in the upcoming sitcom The Wrong Mans) and fragile Bebe Cave (last seen playing young Elizabeth to Helen Mirren's older Queen in The Audience).

Director Phillip Breen cooks up a fervid atmosphere and a whole island off-stage with some neat flourishes, including a makeshift ocean. It needs a little fine tuning, but Holes has all the makings of a future tragicomic hit. 

17, 18, 24, 25 August (0131 623 3030)

Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’

North London meets The Exorcist in eerie suburban drama

TV

Arts and Entertainment

Filming to begin on two new series due to be aired on Dave from next year

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington plays MI5 agent Will Holloway in Spooks: The Greater Good

'You can't count on anyone making it out alive'film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before