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Egg: Richard Pictures

By | Published on Friday 10 August 2018

Egg are Anna Leong Brophy and Emily Lloyd-Saini, back at the Fringe with ‘Richard Pictures’, a new character-led sketch show promising to explore “toxic masculinity and female friendship” with plenty of “high energy silliness and unexpected twists”.

You may have previously seen the duo performing as Egg in the Free Festival or as part of improv outfit BattleActs. Or via their respective acting or radio projects. But it’s Egg and ‘Richard Pictures’ that we wanted to know more about, so we threw some questions in their general direction.

CC: How did you come together to form Egg?
ALB: We’d been improvising together as part of ‘BattleActs’ for a few years and found each other endlessly amusing. And every year at the Fringe we’d get drunk and shriek “we should do a sketch shoooow!” at each other while spilling gin on our shoes. We finally got our act together in 2016 when we took a short run of our first show up to Edinburgh.

CC: What can we expect from ‘Richard Pictures’?
ELS: You can expect two off-white women making Very Serious Important Comments on gender and race – mainly via psychic readings, feeding the ducks and interacting with phallic vegetables. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, but you’ll only cry if that’s how you express mirth, and we make no judgement of that.

CC: So it sounds like you have some serious things to say about gender, gender politics and the misogyny that persists in society, but then you’re in no mood to be serious at all. How to you mix up the serious with the silly?
ALB: It’s aways amazed us how much you can sneak beyond hard-drawn enemy lines with a laugh. By framing an issue in a joke, you take away the element of attack that makes people so averse to examining their prejudices, and introduce a way of looking at it that they can reflect on with positive associations. With all the seismic shifts in worldview that have been set in motion in the last year, we’ve been able to genuinely explore the issues that affect us as two mixed-race women and feel like they are not only relevant, but that people are genuinely receptive and excited to hear from us. And that’s a new feeling and pretty thrilling. On the other hand, we are just two very silly people who find it impossible not to turn the absurdity up to eleven.
ELS: We also have a sketch set to dance music that’s just about toilet roll. so…

CC: I’ll be honest, I was halfway through your promo bumf before I figured out why the show is called ‘Richard Pictures’. Am I just stupid?
ALB: When we came up with the name we thought eeeeveryone would be having the same immediate “AHA!” moment as us. Turns out, gin was a vital element in that equation. But also, you might be stupid. And that’s okay too.

CC: For the uninitiated, how would you describe your style of comedy?
ELS: We’ve got characters for the character comedy types, storyline for the theatre types, banter for the stand-up types, and a shitload of wigs. You know, for the wig fans.

CC: You mentioned the Fringe 2016 show, which is when we first saw you as a double act. How does the new show compare to ‘Static’?
ALB: This show packs way more of a punch. We bloody loved ‘Static’, but also we were brand new as a duo and not brave enough then to make the sketches we have in ‘Richard Pictures’. We were figuring each other out – our relationship as a double act, what we found funny – and this time we didn’t have to worry about that.

CC: You also mentioned the improv show ‘BattleActs’, which is the other place Fringe-goers may have seen you perform before. What’s going on with that at the moment?
ELS: Oh we’re having a great time. We took a year off last year and it feels great to be back. ‘BattleActs’ is on at Free Sisters at 8.15pm for the whole month. We have a Radio 1 podcast series coming up soon too and we’re recording some episodes during the Fringe.

CC: Having done lots of improv, do you find sticking to a script hard work?
ALB: Dahling, please, we’re trained, we thrive on scripts. No, it does take a while to script the sketches – and our director Phoebe can often be found shouting at us to “write it down and stop changing things!” – but the improv gives us the confidence and trust to play around with it when it feels right. There are sections of the show that are entirely improvised and a lot that is very tightly scripted. Our favourite thing to do is to play with that line of the audience not quite knowing what is scripted and what is just for them.

CC: You both have lots of projects on the go beyond Egg and ‘BattleActs’. With all the acting, improvising, sketching and presenting – what’s your favourite?
ALB: Um… you forgot writing. How awkward. We write together as Egg and are developing a script for TV at the moment. Yeah, guys, we’re basically Donald Glover over here.
ELS: I only started stand-up to make people look at me between acting jobs, so I would say acting is the thing. Or writing characters for us to play. But I do love improv too…
ALB: My favourite is whatever pays the rent.

CC: When we reviewed your last show – and BattleActs – you were doing the Free Festival. How does performing at the Pleasance this year compare?
ELS: ‘BattleActs’ has been on the Free Festival for years now and we always have a blast. ‘Richard Pictures’, however, feels totally at home at the Pleasance and it’s bloody great to be there. But we’d never rule out Free Festival in the future – there’s pros and cons to both avenues.

CC: Other than performing, what else will you be doing while you are in Edinburgh this month?
ELS: On our day off we go to Portobello to have a beach day and swim in the sea. Yes, we are SO brave. Anna also loves a climb and wants to use this opportunity to invite anyone who wants to go bouldering up here to give her a shout.
ALB: Emily will not be there as she sprained her foot on day two of the Fringe. She would like to use this opportunity to ask for your sympathy.

CC: And finally, what have you guys got planned beyond the Festival?
ALB: Emily’s going to be filming on ‘Horrible Histories’ this Autumn. And we have our Radio 1 podcast commission with ‘BattleActs’ recording in September. Plus our sitcom script to work on. That’ll keep us out of trouble for a bit.

Egg performed ‘Richard Pictures’ at Pleasance Courtyard and BattleActs! Improvised Comedy’ was performed at Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters at Edinburgh Festival 2018.

LINKS: eggcomedy.com

Photo: Garry Maclennan