Jo Tomalin

Reviews

Mermaid 2 E1539569474449

The Mermaid’s Tears piques the senses – humor, pathos, fantasy, melodrama!

After an intriguing warning at the start of this show Evelyn Jean Pine begins her solo performance at the San Francisco Fringe Festival 2018. Cajoling us with her eyes, she changes pace, character and location and before we know it she was walking on a sidewalk and is now talking about yoga.

Like an impending danse macabre, a scene with a painting seduces people to cry and make love. Inspired by mythology and some of these aforementioned themes The Mermaid’s Tears is developed by Pine with Charlie Varon, who also directed the show.

Pine has graceful, deliberate gestures and movement and a strong presence. She contrasts sincerity with wit in her storytelling and easily draws us in with her air of mystery and our built up expectations. Her story is in the moment, spontaneous and brilliant and the art of descriptive language is right here! Pine tells her story with expert timing, biting wit and beguiling sarcasm. Her performance is like a choreography of all the parts seamlessly working together. She tops her words and actions with outward expressions that are silently bobbing around our own mischievous minds.

Several characters arrive on the scene during the show – all played by Pine – there’s some weird stuff  happening and quirky people, all told through short pointed dialogue and narration. Pine’s writing and delivery has a fascinating rhythm and variety of voices. She uses looks to the audience with a tilt of the head or glint in the eye that all convey so much by their silence and facial expressions. Pine is committed and visceral in her performance and immersed in the variety of characters.

The small stage space is used imaginatively and seems bigger than it is. For example, she leans on a wall by the stage curtain for a short scene, which may be considered dead space by some performers, but Pine uses it to her benefit to add a location and new visual to the mise-en-scène.

Another scene is about an eventful BART ride told so vibrantly that it’s like seeing a film of a novel enacted live! Kyle a homeless man comes into her life in a particularly poignant organic performance. Pine’s characters come alive through subtle details and adjustments of voice, facial expression and physicality in the right balance. Her reactions and characterizations for each character are authentic, and results in fine work.

Humor, pathos, fantasy, melodrama – it’s all here in this one hour solo performance. You will see interesting relationships run their course, wild fantasy and rich imagery told through the writing and delicious acerbic wit from Pine’s performance. She is mesmerizing and a powerful storyteller.

Pine is an excellent writer and performer, she takes the audience on an entertaining ride that piques the senses and the imagination, Highly Recommended!

Originally published in www.FringeReview.co.uk

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Jo Tomalin, Ph.D. reviews Dance, Theatre & Physical Theatre Performances
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