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At Home With Holly
Published on Thursday, 27 August 2009

Oh my, what to say about At Home With Holly? It's formless and themeless, it breaks all the rules, it occasionally descends into shambles... and I loved it!

We're met at the door of Holly's House - a real basement flat in Edinburgh's New Town - by Holly's Mum, who explains she's a last-minute understudy. And I'm the Queen of Sheba, of course, but it's a fitting opening for this unusual comedy, where you're constantly unsure what's real and what's fictional and a surprise is waiting at every turn.

In the course of the show we meet Holly herself, look around her flat, and get to enjoy some insights into her very peculiar world. I liked the random details most of all: the sign on the ceiling telling you you're looking the wrong way, the cardboard light bulbs, the highly personal phone call Holly takes while we're in her living room.

Holly plays with her "guests" - that's us! - delightfully, and on the day I visited, the whole audience was more than happy to join in. We played hide-and-seek, watched each other (in a manner of speaking) on Holly's CCTV and conspired together to frustrate a meddlesome official from the council. It was all good fun, even though there wasn't a huge amount of point to it all, and I left with the feeling of a good experience shared.

A couple of sketches weren't so well-executed, and a few of the jokes fell on stony ground - but that comes with the territory when you put on this type of act. My main criticism's that it isn't quite well-organized enough in managing the audience; not everyone got to see everything, and there was a little too much jostling and squeezing required as we moved around the rooms and hallways of Holly's flat.

That's rather quibblesome, though, and at £5 a ticket you can't possibly fault the value. So, if you want some random Fringe hijinks and something to tell your friends - beat yourself a path to Holly's door.

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