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Sheila and Bri share their struggles as they raise a severely handi- capped daughter.Bri, as a school teacher, seems barely to make ends meet.A Roundabout Theater Company has brought British comic Eddie Izzard and celebrated actress Victoria Hamilton to Broadway for the first time in a powerful London production of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg," the disturbing Peter Nichols play that makes you laugh through your tears.The 1967 drama that drew memorable performances from Jim Dale and Stockard Channing in its first Tony Award-winning revival on Broadway in 1985 is as searing as ever as a portrait of two parents whose marriage is unraveling under the strain of caring for their profoundly spastic daughter (Madeleine Martin) whom they have lovingly nickname Joe Egg and treat as though she were normal.If I did I'd go to a DD, but a D is probably better.'I kinda like Jordan's [Katie Price] look, but l'm not sure it would work on me.'The Victoria & Abdul star told The Evening Standard in 2003: 'I've got breast envy.Just like teenage girls or some women think: "Oh, I wish I was bigger." That's exactly what's going on with me.Bri and Sheila are agreed on caring for the child at home rather than putting her in an institution, as doctors and friends repeatedly suggest.Among these friends are Freddie (Michael Gaston) and Pam (Margaret Colin), a supercilious couple completely out of tune with Bri and Sheila's charade of living as though there is nothing amiss in their relationship to each other or unusual about their child.
Bri misses the marriage they had before Joe was born; Sheila laughs at his whimsy, but privately wishes he would just grow up.Bri's habit of stepping down to the footlights and addressing the audience directly has much to do with building this empathetic response, an opportunity not given Sheila.Under Laurence Boswell's expert direction, Izzard the stand-up comedian has been able to repeat the success he had as a dramatic actor when he played Lenny Bruce in Julian Barry's play, "Lenny," in London several seasons ago.These routines are played out with his wife, Sheila, radiantly portrayed by Hamilton.While joining her desperate husband's attempts to cope with tragedy through humor, Sheila remains undefeated and nourishes the impossible hope that 10-year-old Joe Egg, a "vegetable" who cannot speak and is subject to epileptic fits, will improve as she grows older.