Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 Theatre Review: Blowhole (Pleasance Dome) ★★★

Charismatic, likable and a bit of an oversharer, Blowhole‘s protagonist draws the audience into a world of digital dating, complex relationships and the power of the hole pic.

Benjamin Salmon in Blowhole. Photo Credit: Darren Bell.

We meet Him as he sits on the “throne” that takes centre stage. He explains he is hiding in the work toilets and attempting the perfect selfie of an unbleached, unmaintained anus. In many ways, it is downhill from there, as our loveable narrator takes us with him on his journey of sexual discovery and struggles with self-image.

Writer-performer Benjamin Salmon is endearing, vulnerable and very funny in this solo show. This is not a coming out story, rather it is a relatable snapshot of modern dating life, mental health and the struggle to find one’s place.

Benjamin Salmon in Blowhole. Photo Credit: Darren Bell.

Some of the strongest moments are Salmon’s hilarious characterisations, in particular an aging yoga guru named “Star”, who is both unkind and unforgiving. Working at a hot yoga studio so that he can meet an Adonis, it seems that the place that purports to promote wellbeing cares little for the struggling employee on the reception desk.

Unattainable beauty standards, both IRL and online, feature strongly in this piece. The dialogue could be slicker at times, and the moves between characters more delineated, but every word is delivered with sincerity and charm. The underlying story about coming to terms with grief, and the sometimes self-destructive ways of avoiding it, gives the narrative more pathos and depth.

Benjamin Salmon in Blowhole. Photo Credit: Darren Bell.

Blowhole is both a tale that feels very current while also being universally appealing. Funny, touching and with an engaging central performance, this show will fill any empty void.

By Deborah Klayman

Blowhole plays at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh until August 28th 2023.

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