The Edinburgh Fringe is the sort of place where you expect to see experimental, strange and unusual performances, and Paper Doll Militia’s Egg will certainly satisfy audiences looking for that ‘Fringe theatre’ experience. Set in the atmospheric Demonstration Room at Summerhall, Egg is a story based on a personal account of female infertility and egg donation told through text, aerial circus and music.
An aesthetically immersive and atmospheric piece of theatre
From the very beginning, the show has an incredibly strong aesthetic centred around plastics and transparency with clear PVC costuming, props, and various types of suspended sheeting. The idea of membranes, containment, hygiene, medicalisation and preservation are brought to mind by these set pieces, and as the narrative progresses they are transformed and adapted into unique and unexpected apparatuses for aerial circus, providing the strongest moments of the show. Sarah Holmes is an expressive and talented aerialist whose ability to deliver dialogue while performing in the air is as impressive as her physicality. This is not the kind of circus you will see in a big top, or even in a cabaret; this is aerial work more akin to experimental movement or dance and it is very exciting to watch.
However, for a production which is tackling such an emotionally laden theme, the text that anchors the show didn't quite meet my expectations in terms of passion. At times it felt as though the two artists' acting abilities were stretched a little thin as they portrayed multiple characters, but the overall impact of the topic, the spectacle and the innovative visual stylings of the work may win audiences over.
If you are after a performance which takes circus techniques into new areas, seeking an aesthetically immersive and atmospheric piece of theatre, or looking to see the topic of female infertility tackled in a different way, then Egg should provide a thought provoking experience.