**** (out of 5)
Olivier Martin-Salvan and Pierre Guillois would’ve been movie stars in the silent era a century ago.
They evoke more than a bit of Laurel and Hardy, but with even starker contrasts. In this contemporary duo, this Ollie (Martin-Salvan) does most all of the talking while sitting on a box, while the lanky Guillois races to and fro, holding up pieces of cardboard in various sizes and shapes, each with English words written on them to describe the objects, animals, weather patterns and even stage directions. At one point, the cardboard reads: “It’s Icelandic. But it’s not Icelandic.”
The story begins, certainly enough, in an ice hole in Iceland, but eventually takes our protagonist from the fjords, across land, air and sea, hoping to catch up with his beloved mermaid. Will Guillois ever stand up for himself? Will Martin-Salvan ever even stand up? It’s an ambitious way to tell a story, that’s for certain.
The action takes place over the course of 75 minutes, with an amusing take on intermission, but if you want to catch all of the action (read: read everything that’s displayed), then you’ll want to sit closer to the center of the audience.
The Ice Hole: A Cardboard Comedy runs through Aug. 28 at Pleasance Courtyard Grand