From the off you are aware that Egg has a bit of a theme going on. The stage is littered with various yellow and white objects and fabrics. There is a Haribo egg on every seat. In the middle of all this stands a huge egg on pale spindly legs, an ethereal glow mysteriously emanating from its innards. In there stands the Yolk, wondering aloud about the world outside the maternal shell. Theodora Van der Beek’s one-woman show is delightful and disorientating, a tale of one Yolk’s journey through the big bad world.
That is the main structure of this surreal story. The egg hatches, the yellow-leotarded Yolk emerges into the strange city, her innocence enhanced by a sweet learning to move sequence and huge black eyelashes. She flies through life, getting a job as a decorator, getting a job as a pole dancer, getting addicted to crack (yes it’s an egg pun), becoming a model, a singer, a university student, all hurtling on to the inevitable frying. It’s a dizzying chain of events, played out with obvious joy, humour and many bad puns from Van der Beek, but it’s the yolk’s soul searching that forms the centre of this play. There are analyses of worldwide egg symbolism, the relation of the egg to mothers, to the Big Bang, to whether the chicken came first, to the egg’s individual potential and worth. The Yolk prays to the shell, a bigoted, critical but protective God that undermines her and forces her on into further self-discovery. There’s some greatly put moments in these, especially relating an egg’s potential to feminist theories of human value, but it does tend to drag in places. It’s not a heavy show, it’s aware of it’s own ridiculousness and entertains, but a lecturer character reads close to two pages about the place of eggs in modern mythology, and much of it we’d heard already in the opening speech. Van der Beek’s voice suits the quiet determined Yolk, but gets a bit flat while reading this, and other longer segments. The show does become a bit awkward when it loses its physical momentum.
There are a fair few malfunctions with props and costume that impede Van der Beek’s performance, and a lot could be fixed fairly easily. The Yolk’s costume changes are marvelous, but the wigs keep sliding off her swimming cap. The lecture section could be made more engaging by some notes, pictures or summaries being put on the back of a cloud that there was a wonderful sequence with earlier. Light and sound is generally strong, but has inconsistencies in patterns that had been established, and this staggered the flow of the show. There is some wonderful exploration and play with objects and physicality, but there are some sections that feel like they’re just the creative standby, moves not dynamically followed through with or lines simply recited in order to get to the next bit. The piece is very charming, but quite inconsistent.
Egg is a show with some lovely moments, with a real joy to its execution, and it can laugh at itself without diminishing its intelligent points. The performance could use a little more polish all over and some judicious editing, but it is a cracking (groan) concept that could hatch into something wonderful.