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A Holy Show, Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two) – Review

Taking aim squarely at the ridiculous, A Holy Show seems a winner on paper. A comedy about a bungled 1981 plane hi-jacking of Aer Lingus Flight 164, the problem is it ultimately felt like watching a sketch show, a collection of characters who all happen to be on the same plane. For large parts the hi-jacking is utterly redundant to the story, only a tool to help throw all these diverse characters together. Following a hatful of travellers through check-in and take off, we’re well towards the halfway point of the show before Ex-Trappist monk, Lawrence Downey, makes his…

Summary

Rating

Poor

A great concept but any promise is left unfulfilled, more a sketch show of characters than a comedy of a bungled hijack

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Taking aim squarely at the ridiculous, A Holy Show seems a winner on paper. A comedy about a bungled 1981 plane hi-jacking of Aer Lingus Flight 164, the problem is it ultimately felt like watching a sketch show, a collection of characters who all happen to be on the same plane. For large parts the hi-jacking is utterly redundant to the story, only a tool to help throw all these diverse characters together.

Following a hatful of travellers through check-in and take off, we’re well towards the halfway point of the show before Ex-Trappist monk, Lawrence Downey, makes his move to hi-jack the plane and demand it be re-routed to Iran. Even then little focus is made of the hijack, instead concentrating on the assortment of passengers and their reactions to the whole affair.

Caitriona Ennis and Patrick Moy play this multitude of characters, slipping from one to the other mid-sentence, a ploy that helps the show to flow, but also risks leaving the audience at a loss as to which character they become. With nothing except a change in accent and the screens either side displaying their seat numbers (although this only seems to occur from about halfway through the show), keeping up with them is no easy task. Maybe a simple prop or two would have helped us keep track, a hat or a scarf can make such wonderful difference at times.

What is most frustrating is that towards the end they mix the live action with news reel from the actual hijacking, allowing some of the characters we have been witnessing to come alive as we see the actual people they are based upon. I just wished they had introduced this a little earlier, maybe then could we have better appreciated the efforts a little more.

There is no doubt this show has some appeal, there is enough laughter in the audience to suggest many were finding it extremely funny. It’s just that with no real story being told and the hijack almost redundant to the plot there just wasn’t enough to satisfy those seeking a little more detail.

Written and directed by: Janet Moran
Produced by: Donal Shiels/ Verdant Productions
Booking link: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/holy-show
Booking until: 26 August 2019

About Rob Warren

Someone once described Rob as "the left leaning arm of Everything Theatre" and it's a description he proudly accepted. It is also a description that explains many of his play choices, as he is most likely to be found at plays that try to say something about society. Willing though to give most things a watch, with the exception of anything immersive - he prefers to sit quietly at the back watching than taking part!
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