Single person monologues have long been a fringe staple, but nevertheless they are incredibly difficult to successfully pull off. With her show
Mamalis creates a generally amusing piece with moments of real intrigue.
This show would be totally incapable of carrying itself if it weren’t for the hugely competent performance of Mamalis herself. She takes the audience by the hand onto a walk into her bizarre world. She is charming, funny and delivers lines with just the right dose of awkwardness to make for a highly endearing character. She positions herself centre stage, making ridged gestures with her limbs or taking one step to the side from time to time. She remains unmoving for the whole show. After a while this gets visually rather dull, and it came as a great relief when toward the end of the production she hastily moves three steps to cower further back. Swiftly after this moment of excitement, she returns to centre stage. The momentary movement was not the big change I had hoped for.
This lack of animation in the actor was only heightened by an equally dull stage set up. The stage was empty bar three egg-like lights which hung above her head, and which would occasionally light up in patterns - particularly when she spoke about her dreams. They looked lovely, but simple and not engaging enough to mean that something was ‘going on’ on stage, other than the sound of the speech. In fact I imagine these being a rather fine audio book and delivering almost exactly the same effect.
Billed as a comedy, it definitely received its fair share of laughs from the audience. A surreal commentary on an ordinary life, delivered with expect timing and a winning smile. The writing was good, its flows well and provides enough meat and mystery to hold interest. However despite the comedy, perhaps the most captivating moments where when the writing wasn’t looking for laughs but instead revealing an emotional, sensitive side to the woman reflecting on her mother’s death. These section were very sweet and ensured the piece came across as a comedy with a heart.
Hannah Mamalis is a talented actress and I look forward to seeing her future projects. This show has its moments, some of which are very strong, but unfortunately most of them are pretty much the same. The Egg is a Lonely Hunter is on all month at Summerhall - its not one of the most innovative productions at the festival but it will give you a giggle and keep you engaged.