Theatre review: Hi. (Entering Burned Area)

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Beyond the meadow and into the forest is the burned area. It's not scary; it's just there.

Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236)


So begins this absorbing and melancholic one-woman clown show, narrated by a tentative figure in a yellow dress, bobble hat and red nose. She worries about small things and over-analyses insignificant failures. She wishes she could leave her house and do exciting things, but instead she’s here, with us, as our tour guide, about to take us to see the destruction outside.

Delicately written and performed by Áine Donnelly, we’re drawn ever deeper into this strange little character’s closed-off world. Subtle uses of mime create her empty house, the woods, rocks and the isolation that engulfs her, all of which she creates from the dark of a black box set.

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However, when we reach the burned area, it becomes a surprising metaphor for the way destruction often leads to new life – whether it’s in nature or in people.

Donnelly’s writing skilfully twists the prosaic into a profound exploration of what it means to embrace life and evolve into something new. This is her first show in Edinburgh after “a lifetime of bad decisions, unsought dreams and resulting disappointments.” She is a multi-talented artist with a distinctive, original perspective, and I hope she continues to do more.

Until 26 August. Today 12.55pm.