Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Egg, MTC & Terrapin, June 30, 2016 **1/2

Written by Angela Betzien
By Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) & Terrapin Puppet Company 
Southbank Theatre, The Lawler, until July 15, 2016 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert 
Stars: **1/2

 Review also published in Herald Sun on Mon July 4, 2016. KH

Genevieve Morris & Jim Russell 

The greatest strength of children’s production, Egg, is the comic charm of its three performers, two of whom are human while the third is a quirky and very cute puppet called Ovo.

The delightfully impish Genevieve Morris and Jim Russell play two rather bewildered, travelling tinkers called Horse and Clyde, who roam the blasted surface of the dying planet of Meridia, hauling an oversized, elaborately decorated egg behind them and, we soon discover, searching for little Ovo.

However, Horse and Clyde cannot remember why they have the egg, where they have come from or where they are going because, at regular intervals, they douse their faces with “Forget-Me-Yes” spray, a solution that muddles their memories.

When they relive their shared past, dredging through their memories, they rediscover their loving and protective relationship as nannies to little Ovo.

Using goofy accents and physicality, Russell and Morris play multiple eccentric characters, including Colonel Goog and Ms. Goog, the power-hungry executives of Goog Inc., the rapacious corporation that recklessly mines the planet of the powerful Egg/Goog energy that occupies the core of Meridia.

Puppeteer, Michelle Robin Anderson, injects warmth and cuteness into Ovo who is a peculiar hybrid of beaky bird head and cushiony, soft-toy, caterpillar body and whose song can heal any injury, including the damage to the planet.

Ovo is sweet, but the character could be totally enchanting if the audience could hear a louder and totally mesmerising voice to create a sense of Ovo’s magical, vocal healing power.

The problems with the production lie with Angela Betzien’s script and the direction by Leticia C├íceres.

Betzien’s themes remind the intended audience of 8 to 12 year-olds to protect the planet and its creatures, but the narrative is poorly structured and lacks surprises while the “goog” references and puns become tired very quickly, even for kids.

The opening scenes between the tinkers borrow mercilessly from the dialogue between the two tramps in Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, without doing justice to Beckett, and the songs (Betzien and THE SWEATS OK), such as Everybody Loves A Baby and Tinkers Make Terrible Parents, are uninspired.

C├íceres’ production is slow moving and lacking dynamic range, the direction is loose and unimaginative and scene changes take too long to execute when actors must deconstruct then reconstruct a series of wooden modules to create locations.

Egg is entertaining because of the performances by Russell, Morris and Ovo, but the script and direction ultimately let it down.

By Kate Herbert

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