You'll Have had Your Hole
nytheatre.com review by Martin Denton
August 15, 2004
Here's the set-up: Dex has been kidnapped by Docksey and Jinks, and is being held hostage in an abandoned recording studio. They've got his hands bound in leather cuffs which are chained to the ceiling; they take turns baiting him—Doxsey by threatening to have sex with Dex's girlfriend Laney, Jinks by threatening to have sex with Dex himself. When they pull the gag out of Dex's mouth, he curses and screams at them that he has powerful connections and they'll soon be dead; but in the remote, abandoned place where Dex finds himself, this is clearly just so much hot air. And the hopped-up Docksey and Jinks seem entirely inclined to make good on their promises...
This is You'll Have Had Your Hole, the profane nihilist drama by Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) that's being given its U.S. premiere by the Boomerang Theatre Company at FringeNYC. We spend the first third of the play in the dark, with Dex, as to exactly why Jinks and Doxsey have taken him captive and why they're exacting such a prolonged and tortuous revenge on him. When we do find out—and I'm really loathe to disclose it to you, because the revelation is the play's best surprise and its spine—we understand that we must feel at least a flicker of compassion for the assailants, even as we have been worried for the well-being of the victim, who turns out to be less innocent that we had at first supposed.
The play is violent, edgy, and disturbing. Most of the words are of the four-letter variety (two of them, one referring to the sex act and another referring to a woman's private parts, are used constantly, like battering rams). Much of the discussion focuses on sex and death, although there's also a recurring argument about the relative merits of George Benson versus Marvin Gaye that adds some much-needed levity and humanity to the proceedings. Indeed, the decaying humanity of two young men at the ends of very short, badly frayed ropes is the meat of this play; their story is terribly sad.
Director Frank Kuzler offers a sharp and generally fearless take on Welsh's sensationalistic drama, staging it with real brio in a most inhospitable venue (the new and, one hopes, not-yet-renovated Collective: Unconscious space), on a "stage" that is actually a banquette. The four actors—all of whom look, unfortunately, at least ten years older than the 20-something characters they portray—all do game work, with Zack Calhoon (Dex) spending most of the play's running time in the aforementioned handcuffs and Ian Pfister (Jinks) having to change costumes in front of the audience several times; and all of them pressing hard to master a difficult Scottish dialect that we can (usually) decipher. The standout in the company is Mac Brydon, who makes us want to know more about Docksey. This raw, flinty play is certainly not for everybody, but Kuzler and his collaborators are giving it a fair hearing.