The Boy Who Dropped an Egg on the World

Written by Julian Bond
Jack's Hard Rub Theatre Company
Lee Jones Centre, Limekiln Lane (19th July 2007)

Reviewed by Mark Langshaw

We live in a world marred by illegal wars, inequality and Western oppression, where religious dogma prevails over common sense all too often. There can never be too many damning indictments of such things, but when dealing in these contentious issues, the utmost care must be taken to remain objective without pulling punches.

This collaboration between writer/director Julian Bond and Jack’s Hard Rub Theatre Company boldly tackles these issues head on via an effective combination of Greek tragedy and Elizabethan bourgeois theatre.

Set in a café in the heart of the war-ravaged Middle East, this is essentially a religious morality play, a battle between good and evil with prominent social commentary. The paths of an American soldier, a young boy prone to prophetic dreams, two local intellectuals and a seemingly deranged bereaving mother, all cross when a sandstorm of cataclysmic proportions forces them to shelter inside the café.

There is much more to this fascinating cast of characters than meets the eye. Each has fathomless depth, representing great ideals or personifying the terrible consequences war and subjugation bring to a country and its populace.

Although thoroughly well written, the cast’s performance varied throughout. Angela Millet as the bereaving mother was nothing short of haunting, and Nick Osborn as Azaph, the prophetic boy, played the part with gusto. The others were somewhat lacklustre until after the interval, when tempers flared and zeal hit critical mass.

The show is very much a two way process between cast and audience. With the set consisting of a table and two chairs, and very little in the way of props, a great deal is left to the imagination. Picturing the characters in their roles is further encumbered by the absence of any attempt at their respective national accents, but the quality of the poignant script prevents the viewer from dwelling on this for long.

As a ‘mystery’ play and a work of allegory, The Boy Who Dropped an Egg on the World is scripted and performed well enough to be captivating, but as a work of contemporary social commentary, it is perhaps guilty of dealing in absolutes. For instance, the American soldier personifies the evils of Western oppression and Christian dogma, which could be misconstrued as the demonising of the soldiers involved in the Iraq conflict, when it is the role of certain belligerent politicians that needs to be called into question.

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