Fatastrophe (A Same Brain Production) 2011 Fringe Review

While fat has never been a laughing matter for me, Alexandra Hurley and Laura Bonang kept me chortling for 45 solid minutes at Fatastrophe on Wednesday July 6 at George Ignatieff Theatre. Both women are recent graduates of the Acting for Film and Television program at Humber College. The show was confessional and honest without ever once descending into cringe-worthy territory.

The non-narrative two-hander featured Alex and Laura, two fat roommates. The show incorporated musical numbers, skits, storytelling and stand-up bits. There was even a bit of rap.  Fatastrophe was used as a punch line and the end of some of the more tragically hilarious personal anecdotes that were shared, like the one where their pizza delivery guy tells them he’s really going to miss them when he discovers they’re moving out. Or the one where Alex hides out in the bathroom to eat her food, despite having a hungry guest over.

My favourite musical number was “I’d be hot in the Renaissance” performed by Alexandra Hurley, a talented singer as well as comedic actress who was self-accompanied on the ukulele. I also smiled knowingly to the skit where Laura’s friend chastises her for referring to herself as “tall”.

Laura and Alex managed to touch on several issues that I think a great number of women would identify with, regardless of size. They covered tokenization of fat women in the arts, being relegated to friend status on the dating scene and the struggle to find self-esteem; without ever becoming preachy. They were at times self-deprecating and at times exultant; demonstrating an impressive level of maturity and wit. I probably wouldn’t have guessed this was a debut production.

Being a fringe show, the costumes and set were minimal, although the bikini girls t-shirts, used for dramatically comedic effect at a few key moments, were a real treat.

They closed out the show with a vintage track entitled “she’s too fat for me”. It would have been offensive in just about any other context but by the end of Fatastrophe, entirely appropriate.

Fatastrophe plays at George Ignatieff Theatre, Venue 6, 15 Devonshire Place, Toronto, ON.

– Playing

Wed, July 6 7:00 PM 601
Fri, July 8 1:15 PM 607
Sun, July 10 6:30 PM 623
Tue, July 12 1:15 PM 632
Wed, July 13 11:00 PM 644
Fri, July 15 3:30 PM 654
Sat, July 16 8:00 PM 663

– All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets areavailable online at www.fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The RandolphCentre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 – $10+$1 convenience fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows