THEATRE REVIEW: 'Eggs' at 53Two, Manchester

Florence Keith-Roach’s one-act play sees its northern premiere at 53Two, following a run at VAULT Festival in 2016 which met critical acclaim. Described as ‘a dark comedy about friendship, fertility, and freaking out’ Eggs is an intimate two-hander following the lives of two women in their late twenties. 

Credited simply as ‘Girl One’ and Girl Two’, Keith-Roach’s writing makes our two leads completely universal, every girl in the audience could project themselves on that stage and identify with the various experiences portrayed. It’s a masterclass in writing authentic female friendship; nothing is sacred, and everything is the end of the world. The play takes place over the course of a year, in which the girls have their own lives and career pursuits, but always have time to call or meet and talk about relationships, sex, hypocritical vegetarians and Scarlett Johansson.

Emily Curtis and Lauren-Nicole Mayes both give powerhouse performances. The two share a chemistry that is few and far between and both portray such a range that you’re folding over laughing just thirty seconds before they’re making you tear up. The two are skilfully directed by Chantell Walker, fresh off the back of sold-out performances of Tim Keogh’s Thorn, she brings to Eggs extreme care and attention to detail. 

Every bit a girl’s room; clothes, pillows and sanitary pads scattered by the bed, the set isn’t exactly minimal but reflective of the characters, and leaves just enough room for the actors to play. In fringe theatre, transitions can sometimes be the hardest thing to polish, however, Walker wisely used these to her advantage. In between scenes, the actors would change their clothes, whether putting on a different jacket or stepping into giant mermaid slippers, these would be the only times we saw the two girls alone and often provided insight into their own separate lives. They weren’t only changing outfits but changing moods.

The play deals honestly with issues such as depression, loneliness and abortion. It’s often brutal and straight-forward but it doesn’t attack its audience, it plays out these ideas through the fast-paced and astoundingly realistic dialogue. It almost gives you the validation you didn’t know you needed to openly talk about these, often taboo, subjects. It’s not just a play for women either, it doesn’t preach to men about women’s hardships but rather invites them to take a clear, honest look at two real women and their universal feelings.

Eggs is a complex examination and cathartic portrayal of real lives that doesn’t patronize its audience on the tough issues. You’ll leave the theatre feeling a little like you’ve opened up to a close friend.

Eggs plays at 53Two in Manchester until the 10th of March 2018.
Buy tickets here.