Joanne Ryan: Eggsistentialism


Summerhall, Edinburgh

Eggsistentialism is an absolute gem of a show. Written and performed by Irish actor Joanne Ryan, it tells the very private story of a woman trying to decide whether or not she’d like to have a child. But it’s a lot more than that: it’s also a history of Ireland and its social, sexual history. Deftly constructed, so that it feels light and palatable even when it’s punching hard, this is a clever piece of work, which made me laugh out loud, but also brought me to tears.

Ryan is an extremely engaging performer, with wit and warmth enough to envelop her audience. There are animations too: this is a multi-media piece. But it never feels heavy-handed, or techy-for-the-sake-of-it, like such things sometimes do. The animations here are charming and quirky, and used to excellent effect, contextualising Ryan’s modern-day dilemma and adding layers of meaning to the fears she faces. Veronica Coburn’s direction is lovely too: there’s an ease and subtlety to the whole production, which makes it most enjoyable to watch.

This is a must-see: a deeply personal play with universal appeal. Don’t miss it.

5 stars

Susan Singfield


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