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Review: Mummy at Crazy Coqs

In her one-woman show Amy Gwilliam sets up an intimate conversation on death and loss, blending sadness, madness and hilarity

02 June, 2017 — By Julia Martincic

Amy Gwilliam as Prof Elizabeth Nico in Mummy. Photo: Amy Gwilliam

Death, no matter how untimely, has to be dealt with. Amy Gwilliam knows that much, having lost her mother when she was just a teenager. The experience led to her new play Mummy, a one-woman show about dealing with loss, with a blend of sadness, madness and hilarity.

The show involves the audience from the beginning as we all suddenly find ourselves part of St Stephen’s Alumni Supper. The key speaker, Gwilliam’s character Prof Elizabeth Nico, is a somewhat clichéd Cambridge professor in archeology. She has decided to use the platform to promote her new book, Mummy: the Art of Saying Goodbye.

The show allows Gwilliam to explore her character’s memories of her mother’s death. The serious Cambridge academic has a gentle streak of madness to her, neurotically guiding the audience through the ancient Egyptian’s approach to death. The hour-long performance involves everything from an absurd on-stage mummification to a priceless rap song. The surreal comedy is sure to leave you snickering.

There is a strong sense of vulnerability in Mummy. Nico dips into delicate moments of melancholy, reminiscing about her mother and the short time they got to spend together. These memories bring a needed nerve to the script, a vulnerability to the character, and a relatability to the play.
Gwilliam’s continuous juxtaposition between the absurd and the mournful manages to elegantly sum up our fascination with the inevitable and how it must feel suddenly having to face it.

Gwilliam has created not only a one-woman show, but a semi-academic talk full of fun facts. And most importantly, she’s opened up an intimate conversation about death and loss.
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