BWW Review: LAID, Soho Theatre
Never have I ever laughed so much at the theatre.
Every day a woman lays an egg, and then faces a decision: does she raise it or eat it? An LA-based comedian, Natalie Palamides explores the troubles of motherhood through the surreal in Laid, a ridiculously raucous physical comedy.
Palamides wakes up, shaves, brushes her teeth and reads the paper before going into labour. An egg is laid, scrambled, and then eaten. Palamides goes to bed, and we repeat. What could easily become a repetitive cycle is avoided by hilarious playful moments from Palamides.
She is fully responsive to the audience, comfortably engaging in discussions with them. She casts the spectators as other characters: Bill the paperboy, Mr Chatsworth the paedophile, and Mrs Steiner the classroom teacher are all a part of the story. The audience has to improvise along in order to move the story forward.
A lot of eggs are cooked and some just fall out of Palamides' womb and smash. However, the odd few do survive. One of them is Olivia, adored by her mother, who teaches her to read Gone Girl. Palamides smothers her egg daugther in love, so much so that she literally crushes her.
It's incredibly impressive how Palamides sways the audience from laughing uncontrollably to feeling emotional, in a matter of seconds. Every moment works and Palamides loves to make people squirm. She is dirty and raunchy but also incredibly cheeky.
The best interaction is with audience member Oakley, who has apparently been bullying Palamides' son Christopher. Calling him "spotty" and "ugly", Oakley also makes jokes about Palamides herself, referring to her as "the egg lady". Palamides teases him, and being vegan, Oakley is literally treading on eggshells, dodging the yolky mess on the floor, whilst flailing as he tries to avoid touching Christopher.
There's no surprise that this show keeps getting extra dates added. It's one of those that you could see over and over again, and you really do not want it to end. In an industry where there is so much emphasis on living in reality, this level of absurdity feels incredibly refreshing.
Laid at the Soho Theatre until 13 January
Photo Credit: Natalie Palamides