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The Egg is a Lonely Hunter review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘charming, funny off-kilter tale’

Hannah Mamalis performs The Egg is a Lonely Hunter at Summerhall. Photo: Malcolm McGettigan Hannah Mamalis performs The Egg is a Lonely Hunter at Summerhall. Photo: Malcolm McGettigan

Reminiscent of the storytelling of Daniel Kitson, The Egg is a Lonely Hunter by Hannah Mamalis excavates loneliness and grief with tenderness, but this writer-performer has her own unique and beguiling voice. She draws on absurdism and gives an otherworldly strangeness to her frequently funny narrative, which makes this show a puzzling, twisty delight.

Sophie has an irrational fear of eggs. But from her colourful observations, everyone in her town is a little bit of an oddball. She runs a local shop and is taunted about her phobia by a schoolboy, Michael, who tries to slip eggs into his mum’s groceries so Sophie must ring them up.

Overnight, Michael goes missing. Has he been pulled into a “roving pervert sentient black hole” which has appeared? So says the neighbourhood gossip. Who is the “decrepit” old man hovering outside her shop? Horses speak. Streetlights seem to be sending Sophie messages. Something ominous is on the horizon. Dreams, memories, premonitions and nightmares blur with her reality.

Describing this world with vivid images and poetic phrases, the off-kilter but inviting Mamalis keeps the story moving in unexpected directions. Pulsing yolk-like orb lighting above her head further conjures an offbeat atmosphere.

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Surreal storytelling creates a charming, funny off-kilter tale