Eggs at the Vaults
Eggs is a play that wears a young aspiring artist’s concerns and anxieties on its sleeve. Unsurprisingly, one of the two leads is a would-be creative, whose ambitions perpetually stride beyond her productivity, whilst the other is more pragmatic and willing to play the adult game. There’s undoubtedly some personal experience in the writing of Florence Keith-Roach, who also plays the artistic half of the central duo. The trouble is, the play struggles to ever become more than an artist self-therapising on stage.
The passage of time is an important part of the play’s dynamic; the two leads, Girl 1 (Keith-Roach) and Girl 2 (Amani Zardie) go from student intimacy to growing estrangement as they reach the big 3-0. There have been steps taken to ensure Eggs convincingly plays to its contemporary moment as experienced by people in a similar point in life, with many 90s references to both music and cult films by the characters. There’s a fair amount comedy in the interactions of the twosome, with subtle costumes cleverly evolving throughout in a nice visual touch, but the ever-present anxiety is allowed to build as time goes on.
Nonetheless, the reason that some artists never make it as big as they would like becomes apparent. The acting is solid, although it’s clear that Zardie is the most natural performer of the two. Keith-Roach’s dialogue has its moments, but is at times clunky, due to an over-determined positioning of the characters’ roles. These roles remain rather generalised, as if she found she could only write one dynamic: that of the alienated under-achiever sounding off the go-getting pragmatist. An occasional breather from the girls expositing their thoughts on life and love would have been a welcome addition to the piece. At the best moments, the insight achieves some universality in terms of the nuances of shifting female friendships, but it’s undoubtedly rather inward-looking, and every time Keith-Roach has Zardie slam into her for her flaws, one feels she is trying too hard to get outside her own perspective.
Eggs has quite a lot to get off its chest, and there is enjoyment to be had in such unashamedly sincere and honest theatrics on display; it is touchingly affirming of the power of friendship, but one has to charitably overlook the indulgence and solipsism of the writing. Many have attempted swimming in the same strong current – hopefully, with more experience, Keith-Roach will be able to hold her breath for a longer period of time.
Eggs is on at the Vaults from 24th February until 6th March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.