Brighton Fringe 2010
The Biscuit Chronicles
Venue: The Western Front
Festival: Brighton Fringe
The Biscuit Chronicles is a theatre-based exploration of food, written and performed by the versatile Amy Godfrey. Free biscuits on chairs in a light-hearted one woman show that combines character comedy with wry observation.
Amy Godfrey writes and performs, Sian Stevenson directs this endearing one woman show. The sofa-endowed upstairs at the Western Front, provides the space for "fat-bottomed-and-feisty Amy Godfrey to talk us through her take on her physical self and the contradictory world of fatness and food. The Western Front pub’s upstairs bar is the performance space for an enjoyable hour. (Surely the seeds of a new, small theatre upstaires lie here, waiting to be watered by the creative urges of a restless Brightonian visionary?)
This is a show about "love, life and lunch in the fat lane." Comparisons are here to be made with Doug Devaney’s foray into obesity, "Mein Gut" at the Fringe a few years back. Godfrey, like Devaney, draws parallels between size-ism and racism.
Also, Godrey isn’t a classically trained actor, but her performance style and skills are more than enough to keep her on top of the comedy and sometimes serious material, very much as David Bramwell – also not a trained actor – managed to pull off to award-winning effect with The Haunted Moustache at last year’s Fringe.
She’s charismatic, engaging and knows how to step fully into a range of funny and touching characters. Clearly well researched, the rich material is here to be enjoyed and savoured. The piece is lit by bedside and living room lamps. Why do we eat? "In order to not have to repeatedly say no,"
The monologue is clever, witty and well observed. And she makes some serious points. For example, fatness and fitness can sit well together We are invited to talk amongst ourselves as Amy changes costume, shamelessly and hilariously in front of us. Through a series of comic monologues we are taken on a journey through obesity and dieting. She has an easy style and an relaxed command of the stage.
We’re asked who has ever been on a diet. "Diets don’t work". "We eat for all kinds of reasons". Amy faces the issues and the audience as well as the material itself head on. It’s a very direct show. She leads us into discomfort, asking difficult questions. Sometimes the pace doesn’t serve the piece, and it slows a little too much. It’s a very good show, full of observation, bits of wisdom and plenty of comedy calories.
Good character acting, accessible writing, her obviously copious research only occasionally appears as a little forced into the drama; mostly it has been woven skilfully into the script.
Fat is cosy, fat says yes. Review says recommended, reviewer says yes.