Egg, Summerhall, Review

Submitted by Erin Roche on Sun, 5 Aug '18 11.57pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Paper Doll Militia
Rob Jones (co-director), Brian Hutchison (lighting designer), Dawn Taylor (producer), Touzie Tyke (animation), Ben Harrison (original direction)
Sarah Bebe Holmes (Performer and Lead Artist), Balázs Hermann (musician and composer)

Following a performance at the 2018 manipulate Festival at the Traverse Theatre, Egg is back for the Fringe and fully hatched.

The sight of Sarah Bebe Holmes as she rests in fetal position, naked, in a bag full of water as the audience ushers into their seats is an arresting display in Summerhall’s Demonstration Room. This space is intimate and particularly apt for this performance given that Summerhall is based in a 100-year old veterinary school, giving off a medical, sterile feel perfectly atmospheric for Egg, a piece about fertility, sexuality, and choice.

Exposing and vulnerable, Egg uses autobiographical monologue, aerial artistry, projections, animation and live music to tell the story of Carol, who needs the eggs, and Sarah, who gives them. Carol and Sarah are so close it’s as if they’re family, but the government still deems Sarah a “high risk” donor. From detailing dehumanising medical treatment to rawly sharing description of the IVF process often shielded from the conversation, this piece offers socio-political critique; however, comic sparks are peppered in that balance the personal storytelling.

Metaphor is ripe in this production. Subtle changes, both in the music (Balázs Hermann) and the footwear, denote thoughtful symbols that flesh out the characters: Carol is pensive upright bass, while Sarah is groovy electric bass; the Nurse wears white patent leather ballet flats, while Sarah wears shiny combat boots.

The sheer physical commitment of Sarah Holmes is impressive and wondrous as she tells this story through multiple characters, often hanging in some impossible pose off of a gathering of dangling plastic. Bendy-straw Sarah transforms from the patient undergoing egg extraction and viscerally twists into the descending egg itself, slipping from the ceiling, upside down via PVC plastic ropes. It’s especially impressive when you remember that she actually did this selfless, invasive process in real life.

What does it take to make a baby? Egg says it’s a bit more than the “right timing, right intentions, and the right people,” sometimes it takes 12 eggs thawed, four that survive, and one that implants. A piece that should be required viewing for anyone in the reproductive healthcare field, this is a moving show that proves that families are made in a myriad of ways, and that it matters not who you come from but who you grow to become.

Aug 7-26 (not 13 or 20), 18:15