There is something rather exhilarating about discovering new theatre for the first time, especially when you have the chance to be in the audience for the opening night of a brand new piece, performed by a young, modern company. That feeling of not knowing what to expect, not to mention whether you or your fellow-audience members will enjoy what you are about to experience together can set the scene for a thrilling evening. So, it is a shame that more often than not the audience numbers are a little on the low side and made up mainly of family and friends of the company.
This was very much the case for the Brew Makers Theatre Company’s opening night for The Egg Rumour at the Old Joint Stock Theatre, though admittedly a new musical-play about fertility timing and corporate egg freezing may not immediately appeal to everyone. Yet, anyone who did not see the performance missed an entertaining hour that was both comic, emotional and thought-provoking – a play that particularly resonates in the current #metoo and equal pay debate climate.
The story centres around Iva, a young woman in her 20’s who is offered a rare promotion in her corporate job, but on the understanding that she undergo treatment to freeze her eggs and delay any plans of motherhood for the imminent future. You might be forgiven for thinking this is some futuristic utopian world conjured in the minds of the author (Ellamae Cieslik, who also plays the role of Iva) but no! In recent years the ‘incentive’ of egg freezing has become a growing trend – particularly in the USA – for women who wish to have control over both career and family life. Whether ultimately they have that control is the question at the heart of Iva’s story.
The ensemble company of 6 performers take on all of the roles between them and never leave the stage, moving seamlessly from featured office-workers to medical staff to all-seeing Greek chorus. The performances are fresh, crisp and confident, with the whole company blending extremely well together. A particular highlight was the opening movement sequence which was in progress as the audience took their seats and when the company sang together, even the first night hitch of the music tracks not playing could not detract from the great sound and obvious talent within the group.
This is definitely a piece which will grow and shift as the company itself develops. There are some moments where the flow of the story begins to wane, but this is mainly because the whole performance rattles along at such a fast pace, some of the references get missed by the audience and it takes a while to catch up with what has changed. Indeed, there were a couple of moments early on that the audience went to applaud but were not given time before the action continued, which subsequently left us unsure whether to react and made us a very quiet (and probably unnerving) group of observers throughout! A slight relaxing of the pace overall would ensure that the dialogue has more clarity and that the audience have time to appreciate individual segments without losing any of the energy and exuberance that carries this production along.
Provocative, funny, some great harmonies and a story line that left you questioning your own thoughts – what more could you ask for from live theatre?
The Brew Makers return for another performance at The Old Joint Stock on Monday 9 July before touring to other venues across the country. Why not treat yourself to something new?
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