EGG sees Erin Fowler explore fertility as an existential question. At 32 and single she thinks she wants to have children. But how? And when?

It begins, of course, with conception. Through black light, ’80s pop music and fluorescent sperm, we are thrust into the process. In a number of early set pieces, Fowler utilises the length of the stage, creating a solid connection with the audience as she tells us her relationship origin story.

In these charmingly effervescent openers there are clear signs of her work with clowning instructor and comedic performer Hew Parham. EGG sees Fowler stretch her repertoire beyond her previously successful dance and physical performance work. Her 2019 Adelaide Fringe show, FEMME, in which she was performer and choreographer, won the Best Dance Award. This new direction is an interesting shift, but one still requiring refinement.

The show is unintentionally a work in two halves: the first is high energy, laugh-out-loud funny. In a black box theatre the show relies heavily on using what it has well and here Fowler works hard to make the most of everything available to her. There are a few distractions – the soundtrack overwhelms her non-amplified voice on occasion, and with such a stripped-back set even something as innocuous as Fowler’s bun left to come apart catches the eye.

The rest of the show continues with hints of clowning and the absurd. Having begun so focused on her personal background, it is jolting when the performance expands to a dance-centred dreamscape with a departure in soundtrack. Fowler feels less engaged with the audience, and in turn they begin to grow restless.

Beyond a lack of warning for strobe lighting there are no grand errors here. Fowler is a technically skilled performer and the topic of investigation is one both worthy and timely. The show is let down by an unevenness that could be forgiven if EGG sustained its opening peaks or examined unconventional ideologies. Instead, it is unfortunately a bit of a scramble.

EGG plays at the Black Box Theatre at Black Box Theatres @ Adelaide Botanic Garden until March 21.

Read more Adelaide Fringe reviews and previews here.

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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.