Molière Award-winning Compagnie le Fils had a huge hit with Fishbowl in 2019 and they return with an even bigger inventive knockabout production, The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy.
It’s an absolute piece of comic genius performed at breakneck speed by Pierre Guillois and Olivier Martin-Salvan using hundreds of cardboard cutouts to tell this hilarious tale with little recognisable language and words written on the cards including the names of objects used.
For the most part, Guillois, dressed in a black suit and black bow tie, remains seated whilst his wiry companion, wearing only swimming trunks, is run ragged round the stage revealing cardboard signs that denote places, the weather and the objects used and so much more.
It all begins in Iceland (the country, not the shop), where Guillois is sitting fishing using a cardboard fishing rod. He captures a mermaid, Siena, played by Martin-Salvan, who is now wrapped in cardboard with an impressive tail, but he loses her.
So the ridiculous quest to find her begins, as Guillois has fallen in love with her. The journey takes him to Scotland, including bagpipe players. He experiences the awful weather with all four seasons in a day and, of course, midges.
With visits to France and Spain, outlandish amorous shopkeepers and dodgy credit card machines, the whole situation is becoming chaotic with the stage littered with discarded cardboard.
This madcap comic adventure continues to develop with a rescue from a sinking ship by a windsurfer, an encounter with geese and an attack by enemy aircraft. More importantly, Guillois is accused of murder and there is a price on his head.
It’s exhausting to watch, but the imaginative, surreal staging and split-second timing is so impressive.
The whole audience in the Pleasance Grand gave a richly deserved standing ovation. Don’t miss this superb show.