Saturday, April 13

Holly Spillar: HOLE – Soho Theatre

Holly Spillar is obsessed with holes: the ones in your face, the ones in Warburton’s crumpets, and especially the ones in our pants. After being diagnosed with vaginismus (a condition that causes the vagina to suddenly tighten when something is inserted, making penetrative sex painful), she’s become particularly fixated on why her hole can’t easily welcome a pole.

This quest to try and achieve the “basic, beige sex life of her dreams” is the premise of her one-woman show HOLE, playing at Soho Theatre until 3rd April. Accompanied on stage with nothing but a loop pedal and a microphone, Spillar takes us on a surreal musical and comic journey about her experiences of navigating a litany of gaslighting doctors, terrible one-night stands, and internal misogyny.

Spillar’s deft use of the loop pedal gives the very catchy songs featured in HOLE an almost otherworldly feel. Whether she’s singing about “actively requesting a female doctor” or “dildos on the NHS” (the latter lending itself to a hilarious audience singalong), the way she shifts between vocal styles and tones creates a truly immersive musical experience. With her wild eyes, vocal acrobatics, and deadpan musical wit, it’s a bit like watching the love child of Kate Bush and Bo Burnham singing about vaginas.

As well as the musical whimsy, HOLE shows off Spillar’s sharp storytelling and comedy skills, including some spot-on impressions of Björk and Gillian Anderson.

Vaginismus is certainly not a frequently explored topic in theatre, but Spillar makes sure no stone — or, rather, no hole — goes unturned throughout her theatrical exploration of this underdiagnosed and underestimated condition.

HOLE is a delightfully kooky blend of stand-up comedy and cabaret that highlights Holly Spillar’s quirky talents while raising awareness of a condition that’s rarely discussed between friends and family, let alone in the media. With her trusty loop pedal, Spillar has created a one-of-kind gem of a show featuring ear worms that’ll get stuck in your head all night — just try to resist the urge to sing “dildos on the NHS” on the tube home. SOLD OUT

Reviewer: Olivia Cox

Reviewed: 2nd April 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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