Natalie Palamides: LAID

The Edinburgh Fringe debut of LA-based comedian Natalie Palamides will not be what you expect but it will be one of the best things you see at the festival this year. This one-woman show is co-devised and directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Doctor Brown and features more eggs than sense (even though few eggs survive the hour). Evolving out of a clown piece into a full blown interactive and semi-improvised experience, this fascinating comedy charts Palamides’ character growth from mute egg to omelette maker/mother tormented by the daily question “Do I raise my egg or eat it?”. I suppose you could say that, during the hour-long performance, she really comes out of her shell.

Not only a very funny, but also a very beautiful performance

The surreal nature of the show makes it hard to explain without spoiling it. But beyond the entertaining character voices (Palamides does voice work for Cartoon Network’s Powerpuff Girls), playful use of pastiche, and tremendous physicality, what’s really exciting about the piece is how it processes issues of maternity and femininity by erupting into a chaotic mess. It is appallingly funny to see Palamides stagger across the stage in panicked horror as a dozen or so eggs drop from her and smash to the ground between her legs. It’s an unashamedly mucky show, and rightly gross as Palamides’ character struggles against the unwanted pressures of motherhood and the burdensome weight of her own fertility all alone in the dark bunker venue with nothing but a frilly yellow dress for protection. It is an intelligent and often absurdly terrifying vision of the relentlessness of reproductive cycles. Structurally, it loops back in on itself whilst spiralling into chaos: mothers’ children become mothers themselves and eggs are birthed and eaten and spilt and dropped. It’s really great.

Perhaps the aspect of her work most deserving of praise is the relationship she manages to create with her audience. From the outset, this is cooperative in nature; the show begins with Palamides wordlessly seeking assistance from members in the front row to help get her out of her restrictive and burdensome egg costume. Sometimes walking into a show with a smaller capacity which involves a lot of audience interaction can create the kind of low-key dread you experience in maths class when the teacher goes around asking a question to each member of the class and you know it will get to you eventually. But, despite the egg-children she crushes into scrambled oblivion, it was easy to feel safe in Palamides’ hands as a performer and improvisor. It became clear very quickly that nothing could phase her. She dealt with, if not exactly hecklers, then certainly overactive members of the audience with the calm ease of someone who has absolute confidence in her own material and ability to keep their show on track.

It’s not only a very funny, but also a very beautiful performance: sometimes visceral in its nightmarish grossness, often heartfelt and always playful. Palamides’ delivery is engaging and self-aware, feeling as if it were always moments away from teetering into a knowing wink. Without wanting to count my chickens before they’ve hatched (I have learnt that this is a dangerous game) I hope Palamides has found Edinburgh to be a suitable nest and will bring us another offering next year. 

Reviews by Millie Foy

Pleasance Courtyard

Natalie Palamides: LAID

★★★★★
Heroes @ Monkey Barrel

Glenn Wool: Viva Forever

★★★★
Voodoo Rooms

The Time Machine

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Laying an egg every day, a woman faces the decision: to raise it or eat it. Natalie Palamides, LA based comedian, Upright Citizens' Brigade performer and Just for Laughs vet, explores motherhood with absurd dilemmas, silly routines and surreal physical comedy. A melodrama of yolks, shells and funerals – Palamides brings her playful and cunning character to life in the madness of Laid. Co-devised and directed by Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Doctor Brown. 'Palamides makes a solo show that's so absurd and funny, it might almost be in a unique category of its own' (TheComedyBureau.com, LA).

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £46.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets