The play is composed of a series of monologues from four characters Hannah Sweetnam

Between the Trump musicals and bubble burlesque shows – yes, they really do exist – it can be a serious challenge making a commercial success of loneliness at the Edinburgh Fringe. Yet what these four women achieve in Loneliness and Other Adventures is a quietly intelligent production which will leave you feeling deeply introspective, if not utterly vulnerable.

The monologues often feel, perhaps unsettlingly, like pillow talk with a lover or close friend

The show consists of a collection of monologues written by Mollie Semple, who also plays the central role as an isolated and inquisitive soul in search of love and companionship. The monologues are delivered with such personal integrity by the supporting cast, however, that I am sure there was a high degree of collaboration on the parts of Hannah Lyall, Georgia Vyvyan and Chloe Lansley, who all add their own touch of flair and vulnerability to their pieces. Each monologue explores a different aspect of the emotional and romantic journeys of the performer, from nostalgic tales of a first kiss at school to cripplingly desperate reflections on the unsatisfactory nature of casual sex.

It is a courageous move to choose sparsity over extravagance, exposing the performers entirely to the scrutiny of the observer

Given the subject matter, it is challenging to maintain a balance in the tone of the production; yet flashes of humour are often delivered wistfully and naturally.

Nonetheless, this is not the show to kick off your Friday night. The setting and costume design are sparse but effective, with only four black chairs, four black costumes and a pale light drawing the attention of the audience to the faces of the performers, faces which contort into delight and anguish throughout these monologues.

It is for this rawness that the production deserves its highest praise. It is a courageous move to choose sparsity over extravagance, exposing the performers entirely to the scrutiny of the observer. Yet, thanks to the performers, this decision pays off. The audience are thrust forcibly inside the torment and fancy of inner musings; the monologues often feel, perhaps unsettlingly, like pillow talk with a lover or close friend.

Those in search of a plot will perhaps leave underwhelmed, but each scene curates its own internal coherence

My attention is held unwaveringly throughout the show. The monologues are embellished with simple but neat choreography, the performers moulding themselves around each other like a single organic mass or acting as inner muses of the speaker’s consciousness. It is clear that the cast have rehearsed diligently, and each move is executed fluently. Minor slips in pronunciation and clarity notwithstanding, there is an air of professionalism and quiet charisma to the show’s execution.


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The show suffers from a slight lack of structural focus. There is not a clear arc connecting the scenes, and those in search of a plot will perhaps leave underwhelmed. But each scene curates its own internal coherence (and it is better to interpret the show as a whole) as a collection of the psychological and emotional fragments of a broken and tormented mind, rather than a progression of logical sequences. The audience finds itself carried away on the back of runaway thoughts, sympathising with an emotional register which often, perhaps intentionally, represents that of a teenager: unstable, at once both hopeful and anxious.

Loneliness and Other Adventures confronts the void of loneliness and the ambiguities of love with a fresh honesty in a performance executed to the highest quality. Almost everyone in the audience will find in this material something which connects profoundly with their own experiences. The few who do not will find themselves slightly disconnected from the drama, and in a void of their own.

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