Review: A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Image courtesy Trafalgar Studios
Toby Stephens - Bri
Claire Skinner - Sheila
Patricia Hodge - Grace
Lucy Eaton - Pam
Clarence Smith - Freddie
Storme Toolis - Joe
Harry Attwell - Understudy Bri, Freddie
Rebecca Hands-Wicks - Understudy Sheila, Pam, Grace
Athena Stephens - Understudy Joe
Bri and Sheila have been struggling to care for their disabled 10-year old daughter Josephine ever since she was born.
Nicknaming her "Joe Egg", they lose themselves in fantasy games and black humour to help cope with the struggle of their daily reality.
Directed by Simon Evans (Killer Joe, Arturo Ui), this remarkable story challenges all our assumptions on the limits of love and the power of family.
Written and set in the 1960s, Joe Egg was one of the ground-breaking plays for a generation, and the issues faced by two parents in this hilarious and heart-breaking play still resonate with audiences today.
Alexis ZachariouPerformance date: Wednesday 9 October 2019
As sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, me and my partner really found the story very gripping as the battles the family faced and went through in the play (even though arguably a lot harder due to the challenges Cerebral Palsy posed for all the characters in this particular depiction) really felt close to home for us.
If you are fortunate enough to have never had to deal with such hardship and pain it is hard to fathom how people live day to day with such a condition.
As we know personally very well, when you are diagnosed with such a crippling disease, it is not just you that is diagnosed, it's your whole family, your friends and others who's lives you have impact on.
The parts of Pam (Lucy Eaton) and Freddie (Clarence Smith) were a great example of the lack of understanding, but also the difference in people's attitudes in dealing with such a difficult situation, with one wanting to help but not understanding how and the other having no interest because it is too uncomfortable for them to deal with.
Both of which are fully understandable because we all deal with things differently.
As for Bri (Toby Stephens) and Sheila (Claire Skinner), their performances were absolutely faultless.
I personally bought into their characters.
It was so believable I felt I was really in that living room.
Both deserve recognition for their performances as you truly feel their journey from start to finish.
The anxiety, anguish, learning to cope, acceptance, pain and in the end one's dedication to the situation they were in while the other could simply no longer live with the trauma.
Joe's (Storme Toolis) performance was also perfection.
To watch an actress who has had to overcome her own battles with the condition at the centre of the story, was obviously at times hard to watch but it was also at the same time so amazing to see how someone can fight back and prove that there is hope:
"While there's life, there's hope".
Grace (Patricia Hodge) was also superb, again adding another family dynamic on how dealing with a difficult situation, although collectively, is also still a very personal journey and one in which coexistence between loved ones can be the most painful.
A wonderful play, absolutely faultless acting and I would certainly recommend to anyone.
One last mention, I know I've said it already but Toby Stephens and Claire Skinner: you should be so proud of your performances.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Trafalgar Studios
Our show listing for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
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