Drew Gill
Erin Ross
Paradise in Augustines


As most people over the age of 30 can tell you, there is a great yawning chasm of anxiety and depression writ large through the mundane horror of everyday life and the painful existential terror of being in your early 20s, usually compounded by the listlessness of an unclear career-path, the grind of boring day-jobs, facing difficult relatives and the horrors of singledom or unresolved break-ups.

In part, that’s what Hole aims to depict: the quiet, gentle violence of everyday life compounded by the mundane and monotonous horrors of being alive in the 21st century.

The play follows Cassie (Erin Ross), a clearly mentally unwell young woman on the cusp of her 25th birthday. Dreading this seemingly impossible landmark of age and the familial socialising it brings, Cassie is thrust into spirals of introspection and terror, haunted at all times by an ever-growing black spot on the ground that threatens to swallow her up completely.

The performance is good, but lacks a little polish, which is both understandable and forgivable with a relatively young actor. In fact, it adds a level of spontaneity to the piece that might otherwise be lacking. But there are times where the real emotion feels stretched out and tacked on rather than seeping through the cracks in Cassie’s broken psyche. Moreover, Drew Gill’s script is often chewed through so quickly that it’s hard even for the Scots to make sense of every word, which could prove hampering at this very international festival.

On the other hand, this is a performance that captures so brilliantly the angst and crippling self-introspection that comes with stress and anguish offset with the white-noise static that the black hole brings with it, giving a threatening aura. The play steps around specifically denoting any one or more mental illness that Cassie may have, but it’s symptomatically vague enough to allow the audience to pin the colours of whichever fits best to the mast. It’s also a completely recognisable world painted in strokes of realism that feel all too plausible.

It’s certainly worth the effort, and a laudable effort from some strong new voices on the scene.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan

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