A clever concept, featuring confident physical comedy and original egg-based puppetry.
Jessica Harlond-Kenny has devised a comedic puppetry performance that works on several levels, exploring not only the absurdity of the cover story, but also examining the diversity of drives that combine to create a person’s 'self'.
It is night. A woman (Harlond-Kenny) sleeps. Her hand, carefully positioned, turns into a small animal and explores her sleeping form. Hand monster is a curious, quizzical beast, but quite affectionate and caring in its own way. She awakes, to find an egg emerging from her mouth. The egg starts issuing brisk orders – 'Left Right Left Right BREAKFAST!' This egg jerks Harlond-Kenny around, and then starts issuing orders to a second egg that appears, this one with a defeatist attitude and a plaintive wail - 'I caaaan’t'. These two eggs manoeuvre various parts of breakfast together, while many other eggs appear from various places around Harlond-Kenny’s person. She is a slave in turns to the party times egg, the suicidal egg twins, the fearful egg and, most memorably, the seductive porn star egg (co-starring with a breakfast sausage. Involving honey). Each egg has its own distinct, strong personality, and then there are the groups of eggs that appear, which act in unison. Harlond-Kenny seizes control of her kitchen, her personality and her breakfast in a decisive way, silencing the bossy commanding egg and sitting down to her omelette, finally fully awake. Hand monster reappears, helping her celebrate her victory over the eggs and her discovery of a blended, developed self.
The hand monster feature was very well done, creating an instantly likeable character with no words and simple movements. Harlond-Kenny’s physical control was so strong that it seemed a second puppeteer was controlling the hand while she slept. The egg work took us through a range of comedic styles, and also gave a strong outlet for Harlond-Kenny to demonstrate her range of expressive skills. The sleight of hand work caught audience members by surprise – where did that sausage come from? – but did not overshadow the dramatic and comedic elements of the show.
The stage had a lovely simple setting, plenty of black to off set the pale hand and egg characters, and the sound and light technical work was accurate throughout. The musical selections added to the mirth of the various scenarios, each of which was worked through at a good pace, never dragging.
An adult comedy that features more free-range eggs than your usual puppet show, The Hardest Way to Make an Omelette is a cheerfully ridiculous examination of all aspects of 'awakening', adding some crackingly good fun to the Fremantle Festival.
Rating: 3 ½ stars out of 5
The Hardest Way to Make an Omelette
Presented by Cracked Egg Productions, in partnership with Spare Parts Puppet Theatre
Written & Performed by Jessica Harlond-Kenny
Directed by Leah Mercer
Sound & Lighting Design by Joe Lui
Publicity by Gemma Sidney
Puppetry Mentors Philip Mitchell & Michael Barlow
Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, Fremantle
29 October – 9 November 2013
City of Fremantle Festival
25 October – 10 November 2013