Reviews OWE & Fringe Published 14 November 2019

Review: Gaping Hole (Story #3) at Ovalhouse

8th - 23rd November

Teetering around the edges: Emily Davis writes on Rachel Mars and Greg Wohead’s exploration of plot holes and holes in the walls.

Emily Davis
Gaping Hole (Story #3) at Ovalhouse. Photo: Alex Brenner.

Gaping Hole (Story #3) at Ovalhouse. Photo: Alex Brenner.

I’ve always enjoyed being in the Ovalhouse building. The foyer is big enough so the audience isn’t on top of each other, and the stage makes it seem like it’s always ready for a cabaret fundraiser or a Christmas quiz. It’s 5 minutes from the station, and the bar is one of the least extortionate in theatres. It’s the one I jump to when I think about theatre being a democratic space.

I love the Ovalhouse for this, and their latest Demolition Season. With Gaping Hole and last month’s We Dig, they’ve made art around and out of the building’s demolition. It’s so cool. We as audience members participate in art that is simultaneously in a theatre space and beyond it, stage set-ups take on a whole new dimension when you can pop up through the floor and fall through the back. I also think about the temporary nature of this space- the upstairs theatre has been destroyed with holes in the floor and back wall that are only for this production, knowing it will be the last in the space, like a dark-matter convex set design.

The show begins with Mars and Wohead popping in and out of holes in the floor. Greg falls through a sheet of paper into a –gaping hole- in the back of the room. It’s really funny.

They discuss the plots, and plot holes, of well-known movies. Beast from Beauty and the Beast is at most 11 when the curse is planted! There was room for two people on that door in Titanic! They flick playfully through the films and their respective holes, occasionally landing on one which gets the treatment of one of the performers explaining away- in beautifully elaborate, ridiculous depth- the plot discrepancies. These monologues start with a plot hole then they fill it, then embellish it, grow it, until it’s not explaining a plot hole anymore, the original story is engulfed, turned inside out and forgotten about. Jack from Titanic didn’t die. He fell in love with a mystical sea being, and had a mind blowing threesome with the sea being and an octopus. There were 9 holes.

I quite enjoy that Mars and Wohead perform with a fun sort of smugness? If that’s the right word? that says they KNOW the writing is really good. It’s so good, we’ve forgotten about the original film. I genuinely gasp and feel distraught when Milo – the acrobatic mouse who tapes the poster back into place in The Shawshank Redemption which explains how the escapee could have possibly escaped without the poster flapping in the wind- is trodden on and killed.

The third part of the show sees Wohead and Mars detailing ‘Plot holes in my personal life.’

If I’m so progressive, why did I vote for George W Bush?

If I’m a queer woman, why did I spend so long in a straight relationship?

What if the stories we tell about ourselves – that we’re progressive, sensitive, we don’t break up with our partners in cruel ways – are papering over a hole?

What if the stories we tell about the world- that if we keep working, we will succeed, that everyone is good deep down, that no one is alone- are the same?

Because that’s the fear.

This world, this space in which we speak and make art and try not to starve, freeze or die, is more hole than solid. We’re teetering around the edges, trying not to fall in.

Gaping Hole is on at Ovalhouse till 23rd November. More info here

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Emily Davis is a contributor to Exeunt Magazine

Review: Gaping Hole (Story #3) at Ovalhouse Show Info


Produced by Ovalhouse, Greg Wohead and Rachel Mars

Directed by Deborah Pearson (dramaturg)

Written by Greg Wohead and Rachel Mars

Cast includes Greg Wohead and Rachel Mars

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