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DUBLIN FRINGE FESTIVAL: The Egg is a Lonely Hunter – Project Arts Centre, Dublin

Writer: Hannah Mamalis

Reviewer: Sarah Hoover

Hannah Mamalis draws the audience into the world of “the mundane, the habitual, the achingly close” with her precise, comedic performance in The Egg is a Lonely Hunter. She opens a space for the most unlikely of stories to become matter-of-fact, and the loneliness of a quiet life to become intimate and important. And best of all, she does so with her own brand of slightly frenetic oddity, visible in her stand-up comedy and turned theatrical at Smock Alley’s Scene and Heard festival.

Mamalis occupies her tiny space on stage fully, with delicate gestures and her character Sophie’s wide-eyed openness communicating vulnerability mixed with scepticism. This combination is delightfully inviting, and the Waiting for Nightvale-worthy storytelling she hands out fulfils her promise as an emergent Dublin actor able to control big spaces and small ones. Sophie’s apparently simple life burgeons into complexity as we learn more about her and the porous boundary between her imagination and reality. She dreams vividly for us, populating her monologue with beached whales, trench warfare in corduroy trousers, and her valiant defence when threatened by her worst fear: eggs.

Mamalis narrates her several stories with quiet intensity, relating the kidnapping of a “little shit” neighbour by a black hole which may be some kind of peeping tom, her memories of her late mother, a conversation with an embarrassed horse, and the visceral squidge of stepping in a wet footprint. While the skilful use of lighting adds volumes to her stage presence, the real power of her monologue is in this sensuous storytelling and the physical skill which complements it. Mamalis owns her stage from the moment the audience enters to find her waiting until she transforms from Sophie back to Hannah with a small smile at her final exit.

Runs until 17 September 2017 | Image: Contributed

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