Review: The Egg is a Lonely Hunter at Summerhall

Armed with beautifully eloquent description and imagery, writer-performer Hannah Mamalis lends life to Sophie, a young shopkeeper engaged in battle with a small schoolboy, Michael, over her irrational fear of eggs.

When Michael goes missing, what follows is a tale of childhood, memories and soggy carpet footprints as Sophie opens up about the loneliness of her quiet life.

With Attenborough-like narrations of the secret lives of eggs, possibly perverted black holes and a decrepit old man riding a child’s bike, this piece delights in the surreal. It is deceptively funny from the outset and Mamalis drops witty remarks in amongst her poetic descriptions with ease. The audience are never short of a laugh or two.

That humour is, in part, due to the enigmatic energy Mamalis gives out on stage as Sophie. Her facial expressions are mesmerising, her words are heightened both comedically and meaningfully as you watch her perform, and the voice she uses to tell her monologue is simply captivating. She holds the audience in the palm of her hand.

The blank black staging allows Mamalis to shine as a performer all on her own. However, the story itself doesn’t shine quite as intensely. The narrative is chaotic and verging on incoherent at points. The attempt at a profound, haunting ending seems to be clutching at straws, and it feels disconnected from the absurd humour which came before it.

The Egg is a Lonely Hunter is a quirky, yet fractured piece of theatre, but the skill of the delivery is astounding in itself.

The Egg is a Lonely Hunter, Summerhall, until 26 Aug, 2.45pm

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