Isobel Stuart reviews FATTY FAT FAT at Edinburgh Fringe.
If you’ve ever felt like your body takes up too much space in this world, this may be the show for you. If you’re tired of the mistreatment and subjectification of fat people by commercial and “scientific” bodies, this may be the show for you. If you’re raging with fatphobia, trust me, you’re not welcome.
Opening the show dancing to the Cha Cha Slide, Katie slides to the right, and to the left, under glistening silver balloons that spell out the word that is all too often used to offend and abuse, FAT. Through game show style interludes, spoken word and dance, Katie soon makes it clear that the path to self-acceptance isn’t like flicking a ‘love-yourself’ switch. It is a tiring, intensely complex and continuous process. Winner of the Origins Award for Outstanding New Work at VAULT Festival, Katie Greenall is here to inform and remind us all that a person’s body size does not determine their entitlement to human respect.
Katie creates a safe, inclusive space where the grand prize is to be ‘freed from the clutches of systemic fatphobia’. Yes that’s right, there are games, so be ready for a mild to moderate amount of audience participation, depending on where you’re sat. But don’t worry if you’ve forgotten your emergency snack for the day (essential), Katie is on hand to provide you with an array of her favourite potato based snack, crisps.
As someone who is well versed in the sweat-inducing fitting room jean dance, I found Katie’s show empowering and fresh. Her funny but frank writing had the audience grasping onto her every word. Including a tale of tupperware, her passionate delivery had us crying with laughter, and at times with pain. Whether you resonated with Katie’s experience or not, she did a pretty good job at making you feel every insult, every assumption and every misguided bit of advice from her mother that she has endured, as well as some emotional highs.
If I’d have known that seeing how many skittles you can hold under your chin at once was an extreme sport, I’d have committed to being an athlete a long time ago. 21 is the number to beat if your wondering!