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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy

Pierre Guillois

Genre: Clown, Physical Comedy, Puppetry

Venue: Pleasance Courtyard


Low Down

French theatre company Pierre Guillois brings the comedy physical theatre show The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy


The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy, from French theatre company Pierre Guillois, is an adventure tale from Iceland to Spain, told by two performers mainly through the use of cardboard objects. The piece is combination of puppetry, living set and physical character comedy. Mounds of cardboard items are used for the story, as the set, the props, the costumes and even the weather. The main character, played by Pierre Bénézit, narrates his travels in English – and sometimes Icelandic – sounding gibberish and always from a seated central position. Pierre Guillois plays a revolving door of supporting characters and events, becoming different people, animals, things and all kinds of surprises.

The show is incredibly inventive and creative, the diverse ways in which they use cardboard was shocking. The simultaneous merging of puppetry, set, prop and acting was also highly innovative. Even if most of the elements used are just a piece of cardboard with their name written on it, they manage to update the concept repeatedly.

Pierre Guillois is a tour de force, bringing a new character to life every second and then throwing it up in the air like a child playing around. His clown-like characterisations are hilarious and his stamina to run around the stage is endless. There are no characters, inanimate things or concepts he can’t become. Pierre Bénézit’s protagonist is an engaging character at the beginning, but after the wide array of supporting characters we are presented with, the main character turns less entertaining and repetitively angry.

In spite of how innovative the cardboard concept and the performances are, the story becomes formulaic and drags, feeling quite long towards the end. The arrival in every new country is the same and the jokes are predictable, even though the audience mostly enjoyed them. The main character is moved from one place to another without a strong overarching story. A couple of interesting story arcs are opened but frustratingly never get fully developed. The cardboard concept can’t stand on its own and the show ends up being very reliant on these gimmicks. The cardboard items they present are also incredibly fast paced, like a list they have to get through. I wish they kept half and developed a stronger story with them.

The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy is a show like no other, bursting with creativity. In future pieces I am excited to see stronger and slower paced storytelling from the Pierre Guillois company, propelling the already ground breaking cardboard concept.


Show Website

Pierre Guillois