This interesting two-handed play explores the fractured relationship between two women, whose stories we watch developing over the course of about a year. Book-ended by two scenes set in hospitals, it's clearly a serious and heartfelt work; but there's a lot of humour built into the dialogue, and it's refreshingly unabashed in its discussion of female sexuality, too. A nice gimmick ties it all together: each of its brief scenes involves, somehow, a passing reference to eggs.
Central characters Jules and Juno went to school together, but their lives have followed different paths since then. Jules is artistic, scraping a living as a dog-walker and filled with endless insecurities; Juno, on the surface at least, is the one with a successful career and a happy home. As well as the differences between the two women, there are some interesting contrasts within Juno's own character. The daughter of a strident feminist, she's a thoroughly liberated woman, yet secretly hankers after that most traditional of roles – as a wife, mother and home-maker.
The play's unusual structure is creative, though not without its flaws. Similarly to a comedy sketch show, each of the numerous individual scenes could stand on its own, but still ties into a single developing storyline. At first, I found the approach a little confusing – perhaps due to preconceptions carried over from sketch shows, it took me a while to realise that we were seeing the same characters in each scene – but once I'd bought into it, I enjoyed the fresh perspectives delivered by each new vignette.
In a short self-contained scene, however, there's little room for subtlety, and I did spot a few high-impact dramatic devices coming back again and again. The early scenes in particular are overly reliant on a blurted-out fact which transforms our understanding of what we see. The ever-changing nature of the production is also hard work for the audience – a fact compounded by very fast delivery – and I have to admit there were a couple of moments when I caught myself drifting, purely because I couldn't keep up.
For me, Eggs grows more successful in the later scenes, when the tone takes a properly serious turn and the tragedies defining the characters' lives are finally revealed. There are some nicely-worked recurring themes here: one of the women describes herself as an alien inside a human body, such is the disconnection she feels with the people around her. And the deepest tragedy of all is the fact the two characters are sharing their own heartbreak, yet never listening to each other's. This play is, I feel, targeted primarily at women, but the implicit injunction to be both candid and receptive is an urgent appeal for everyone.
The final scene is poignant, and cleverly (if inevitably) reveals the true meaning of the play's striking title. All in all then, there's a lot to like about Eggs, and even the things I didn't like fell out of an interesting experiment with theatrical form. The programme blurb describes playwright Florence Keith-Roach as a "rising star", and it's hard to disagree with that; her fellow actor, Amani Zardoe, is clearly one to watch too.