Joanne Ryan

Edfest Bouquets 2017


It was another fantastic three weeks at the Fringe for us. We crammed in as many shows as we possibly could – and still barely managed to scratch the surface. Here’s our pick of the best we saw this year. Congratulations to everyone mentioned.


Seagulls – Volcano Theatre

Peer Gynt – Gruffdog Theatre

The Power Behind the Crone – Alison Skilbeck

Safe Place – Clara Glynn

Pike Street – Nilaja Sun



The Darkness of Robins – John Robins

Kinabalu – Phil Wang

Dominant – John Robertson

Mistress & Misfit – Shappi Khorsandi

Oh Frig, I’m 50! – Richard Herring


Story Telling

One Seventeen – Sarah Kendall

These Trees the Autumn Leaves Alone – Will Greenway

The Man on the Moor – Max Dickins

Eggsistentialism – Joanne Ryan

Blank Tiles – Dylan Cole


Special Mentions

The Toxic Avenger: The Musical – Aria Entertainment & Flying Music

Up Close – Chris Dugdale

The Cat Man Curse – Pelican Theatre

Cathy – Cardboard Citizen Theatre

Well Meaning, but Right Leaning – Geoff Norcott

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