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Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Theatre Royal’s Summer School provides young people with the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals for an in-house production. This summer the production is ‘Holes’.

Holes is a young-fiction book written by Louis Sachar in 1998 and Hayley Murrow, Director of this performance thought it was a perfect choice for the Summer School with a mixed cast of young people and adults. It contains multiple themes and relevant topics for the today’s times.

Stanley Yelnats ‘the fourth’ is a teenager who has been sent to Camp Green Lake after being falsely accused of stealing a famous baseball player’s sneakers.

The Yelnats family have a generational history of bad luck, which they believe is due to a curse that was lain upon the family after the first Stanley forgot to fulfil his promise to Madame Zeroni. Madame Zeroni she helped him to woo the love of his life with a pig. Unfortunately the love of his life didn’t choose him and he ran away to America before fulfilling the promise. Since that day, the Yelnats family have continued to have bad luck in everything they do.

Camp Green Lake is a ‘correction centre’ where the young residents dig holes in the dry lake bed in the searing heat. They are not allowed to stop until they complete one hole a day. Stanley is assigned to a group where he finds it difficult to fit in and he tries to keep his head down, however this is not always possible under the circumstances. The play explores issues of racial inequality, sexism and the general traumas of getting on in an adult world. It also explores friendship, loyalty and the things people do when they are desperate.

The play is set in the present at the camp, however it is continually interspersed with the past – the story of the curse and how it has lead us to where we are today.

The first half had a lot of set up however well executed and it was easy to follow. The storyline was intriguing and we wanted to know the backstory.

The second half was faster pace as the story timelines were getting closer and we could start making strong links as to what might happen next. The storyline converges and it is not as predictable as you thought – there were still some twists to be had. These I cannot talk about in this review as I do not want to give anything away!

The four adult actors were excellent, all playing several characters but with the costume changes and their acting skills there was no confusion for the audience.

The young actors were very good with the lead characters doing a great job. Enthusiastic performances while digging holes is a hard challenge!

It’s a comedy drama and there were giggles and sniggers as the light-hearted moments came through.

It was an enjoyable performance of a storyline that had plenty going on but which was also easy to follow. All the actors were engaging and had their own personalities. And how lovely to see young theatre group taking most of the stage time.

Now the theatre is back in action, check out their programme of shows.

This review first appeared on GrapevineLIVE



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