Every morning, a woman is faced with a choice: after laying her daily egg, she must decide whether to eat it or raise it. This is the premise at the heart of Natalie Palamides’ Laid.
There’s cyclical shows and then there’s Laid. From the age-old question of the chicken and the egg, to the repeating core premise, to the overarching narrative itself, Laid employs the repetition of absurdism to its most effective and farcical degree. Even as her daily routine – wake up, brush teeth, shave face, lay egg, eat egg – develops into more nonsensical territory – wake up, shave teeth, brush face, lay egg, raise egg – you can’t help but find yourself more drawn in. Looking around the audience, it was plain to see their emotional investment, with many even gasping when one egg-baby hits the ground.
And it does get weird – and messy. Eggs are cooked on an onstage hot plate and eaten in funeral garb, the tarp feels the wrath of shaving foam and broken yolks and the audience are pulled up to get involved. In amongst the absurdity though is some interestingly tackled themes. Fertility is plain to see, yes, but in her Dorothy-esque dress and Tennessee Williams’ heroine accent, Palamides characterises a certain idea of suburban, white picket fence America. Her character’s only purpose is to reproduce and stick to her assigned role, but as her greetings with the local paperboy and neighbour become more aggressive and her routine more manic, her role starts to fall apart and the final cycle breaking climax destroys it all together.
Natalie Palamides’ is a frantic, gripping, sometimes frightening but always fantastic performer. Laid is a wonderful excursion into the realm of surreal clowning and comedy – it’s more than you ever could have expected.
Words: Chiara Margiotta
Natalie Palamides: Laid, Pleasance Courtyard, Aug 21-27, times vary