June 6, 2007

Fat Pig


The Phoenix Theatre's current production, 'Fat Pig,' is sure to spark conversation for audience members.

The show revolves around Tom, played by Douglas Johnson. Tom is pretty average, good worker, nice guy. Then he finds himself unexpectedly falling in love with Helen ... a plus size woman.

All of a sudden Tom's simple life becomes complicated. His catty ex-girlfriend Jeannie, who is racked with her own self esteem issues, is incredulous. His coworker Carter, a shallow, foul-mouthed jerk, harasses Tom about Helen's size. Although Tom is clearly at his most relaxed and happy when he is with Helen he isn't sure how to cope with the pressure of social "norms."

It's almost painful to watch Tom struggle with the issue. Between Jeannie's bitter insecure tirades and Carter's obnoxious putdowns the audience can really feel Tom's pain.

The play is written by Neil LaBute, who also wrote 'The Shape of Things' a play which similarly probed the issue of physical appearance and its importance in our society. His reflections on the impact that social standards have on an individuals' happiness is fascinating. This production is filled with adult themes and language, so don't take the kids.

The show deals with an incredibly delicate issue. Through the honest writing and the work of a talented cast it manages to infuse a little humor and a lot of heart into the show. And long after the final bow has been taken you're sure to be thinking about Tom's story.

Performances: "Fat Pig" closed June 10, 2007.

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