Potholes in The Plothole

The Plothole offers some laughs, but falls short. Photo: Samuel Spiller.

Plotholes are fascinating things. To some people, they are mere incidental errors of logic or acts of contrivance in works of fiction, which can be overlooked for the benefit of the artistic endeavor. To other people they are the greatest source of frustration known to humankind, particularly to those who take the concerned work extremely serious. There was enough space for Jack on that piece of wood. Why didn’t Gandalf just fly to Mordor? Literally any plot in Anime.

So as you can imagine, there is great potential to be had with a comedy show entitled The Plothole. Directed by Rob van Vuuren and featuring Stuart Cairns and Westley Cockrell, the premise of this show and its format are quite unique. Acting out the various extra featurettes that one might find on a DVD, Cairns and Cockrell provide insight for a fictitious movie they produced called The Plothole, while at the same time making a mockery of said contrivances in famous fairytale stories, and giving tips on how to make oneself a successful career in entertainment. This format also allows for some meta-humour, with our two comedians also acting as a couple who have rented out the fictional DVD.

There are good ideas here that are botched by a rocky delivery. While Cairn’s mannerisms, particularly when it comes to his passive aggression towards the offending plotholes, work well with the premise; Cockrell’s moments of heightened sensitivity and melodrama don’t seem to be a realistic response to the subject material. That may seem ill to the point as the source material is the joke itself, but the comedy isn’t well-fitting.

The setting also works to its detriment. Sitting on a “sound stage” surrounded by cardboard props (which does add to the silliness of it all), one thinks that there would a great feeling of cynicism. In my opinion, these two approaches don’t match. Cockrell also giggling at every second joke, which I think is meant to reinforce the frivolousness of it all, is distracting. Laughter should come from those in the audience, not from those on the stage.

There are some good laughs to be had with The Plothole, and points are awarded for the very creative content. But it has undeniable problems, and it’s a shame.

Catch The Plothole on 6 July at 2.30pm, 7 July at 6.30pm, and 8 July at 4pm at Albany Cabaret Club.

By Samuel Spiller