A Symphony Of Worms – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review
by Letizia Delmastro
Performances – 10 – 15 September
Venue – Smock Alley Theatre – Boys’ School
Hannah Mamalis’ name is, indeed, Hannah Mamalis. It may seem strange, but it’s true and needed confirmation at the start of her show. Just like the dozens of different, wrong versions of her name she has heard through the years, Hannah enjoys imagining different versions of herself…and their deaths.
A symphony of worms is a one-woman show, but where the one woman is flanked by two blow-up doll versions of herself. They are different Hannahs that have lived different lives, and the real Hannah is on the stage to tell their story.
Although the concept might seem confusing, the stories are all very clear, delivered with passion and comfort, Hannah owns the stage and the audience, exuding confidence and doing the best thing a performer could do; enjoying herself throughout her own show.
The Hannahs we hear about are all different. One works in a nursing home, one is an aspiring magician, one chokes on tortilla chips at a near- stranger’s costume party, but they all come together in one unifying trait: they find themselves staring at their own reflection in the mirror, trying to find some self motivation to keep going with their lives.
What Mamalis manages to do is something very hard to accomplish: to teach something to the audience without having to spell it out, and by making them laugh. She shows all of the different versions of herself with humour and compassion, coupled with some dry humour and the message that sometimes we all feel sad or overwhelmed, and we would all fantasize about hurtling that mean old lady into a food stand, and that is ok. You may have an abortion and feel like the laughing stock of the office. You may fail at an important magic trick. You may get drunk and embarrass yourself, but in the end there will always be that little something that will make you feel like you are worth something, and are not a failure.
A symphony of worms is a beautiful, heart-warming show, delivered with humour and honesty by a performer that truly knows how to engage an audience. Although momentarily stalled by a couple of technical hiccups (brilliantly acknowledged by Mamalis), it leaves the audience with a smile on their face and a warm feeling in their heart… and a little thought that it’s ok not to be ok, the orchestra will all tune in the end.