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Belgrade Theatre review: Holes

Holes may be best remembered as the 2003 Hollywood blockbuster but Adam Penford’s fluid and inventive production of this adventure story adapts well to the stage with a myriad of memorable characters and a multi- layered plot. The main story revolves around an unfortunate teenager called Stanley Yelnats (James Backway) who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When a pair of sneakers apparently falls from the sky, Stanley is branded a thief and sent to dig holes with a bunch of misfits at a punishment camp in the Texan desert. Green Lake Camp is overseen by an evil Warden (Rhona Croker), and her bullying henchman, Mr Sir (John Elkington). The Guantanamo style outfits worn by Stanley’s camp mates contribute to the generally unpleasant atmosphere of the mysterious and isolated Green Lake Camp. Despite the unfriendly fellow camp mates and the harsh conditions, Stanley forms an alliance with a fellow camp mate, Zero, (Leona Allen) and together they discover the mystery behind the constant ‘hole digging’. The versatile cast seamlessly play multiple roles across two parallel threads of a story over a century apart and the play works on several levels. As well as keeping the audience guessing about the purpose of the holes, it confronts bullying and racism and the unfairness of the things that happen to people.

With a feel-good ending, this is a great family friendly production.

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