A woman lays an egg a day and faces a tumultuous decision: will she raise her egg, or eat it? In this hysterical (in every sense of that word) show, Natalie Palamides takes a relatively simple (if decidedly offbeat) concept and relentlessly whisks it into a story where you’re left battered, shattered, and shell-shocked. And those aren’t just bad puns.
There were many audience members who were burying their faces in their partner’s shoulders as the plot veered into unexpected yet inevitable territories
Palamides – who feathers her nest with training at the famed UCB Comedy in America– has delivered an hour that is tightly packed with high emotion and base laughs. It’s a very neat trick to repeat a joke (as this show occasionally does) without lessening the gag’s impact on the audience each time, but Palamides is in such absolute control of her audience that each time the central conceit is duplicated, we’re all of us heart in mouth, head in hands to see how things will turn out. It’s a cardinal sin for this reviewer to use the phrase ‘rollercoaster’ quite so early in the Fringe, but it’s a very apt description for how skillfully we are pulled in all directions. You can dock me five reviewer points later, it’ll be worth it. Laid is in equal parts moving and beautiful, as well as being delightfully dumb and crass. It is very rare (as rare as hen’s teeth, perhaps) to see a show that can be painfully hilarious and genuinely traumatic within the same heartbeat, but Laid manages exactly that.
We see all aspects of our heroine’s life, from birth to awkward fumbling (hereby answering that question: who ‘came’ first, the Chick or the egg), and there’s even a very neat Streetcar Named Desire gag. The childish innocence of the characters, blended in with lashings of existential anguish, make Laid feel like the anxiety dreams of Charles M. Schulz. Palamides ranges from wide-eyed hurt whose offspring have to put on a brave face (at times literally) to wine-soaked grieving mom. There were many audience members who were burying their faces in their partner’s shoulders as the plot veered into unexpected yet inevitable territories. There’s a genuinely upsetting moment at around the midway point in the show, and long before the audience has quite recovered from the shock, it veers violently into an appropriately sick joke that invokes the spirit of a banned Monty Python sketch.
This is a genuinely special time at the Fringe, delivered by a supremely talented performer. It’s an hour of relentlessly funny clowning, but also of dark sorrow. After all, you can’t make a show this good without breaking some hearts.