Brighton Fringe 2015
Not a show about how to get fat; no one knows how to do that. How to be fat. How to have a fat body. How to be part of an obestiy epicemic.
Mathilda Gregory is fat. She stands on a stage filled with glittery dresses, a full- length mirror and a scale and tells the audience “I am fat.” Diets do not work. At the end of her hour discussing the shame and stress of being a woman of a certain size, she has everyone guess her weight because she no longer weighs herself. “I don’t know what I weight but if you guess right you win me. And I am expensive to run.”
She asks us if we think she is fat and then she discusses the negative connotations of the word fat. Should one use a different work like curvy…or stupid. And she asks us if our bodies are a success or a failure; do you and your body love each other? “I am ashamed of what I eat because I am ashamed that I am fat.”
Throughout her hour long monologue, you actually feel how miserable it can be for a human being who is naturally and genetically larger than some of us to try to deal with a body type that is reviled in the press, labeled as unhealthy and disgusting. People are legislating against fat people, making them pay more for an airline ticket, assuming they are gluttons who cannot keep their hands out of the fridge.
How to be Fat is an Edinburgh preview and it still has a way to go to be a solid, well produced show that gets a message across without wandering all over the opinion and cliché map but even as it is, Gregory gives us a wonderful and though provoking hour. Many of her remarks are supposed to be funny but in reality they are heart-rendering because they show us how prejudiced and cruel we have become about people who are large.
Gregory still has not learned her lines, which is disconcerting, but she will get there. The show could stand some cutting to get her points across but no one in the audience cared because Gregory is charming, witty and delightful. They loved her and they were captivated by every word she said. It is obvious that Gregory can write and her turn of phrase is always superb and thought provoking. She says, ”I am fat. People say you are not fat, and I find it quite hard to respond to that. Because what they are really saying is what you are is so horrible that they won’t admit what you are.”
A line like that can break your heart because it is so true and so very, very wrong. She says, “A lot of fat people wonder what life would be like if they were thin. ….I think I will always be fat and that’s the thing I need to be ok about.”
This is an important show to see. Gregory makes you look into your own heart and sift out those pre-conceived notions about people and their body types and re-examine them in the light of truth and compassion. I loved this show from beginning to end and cannot wait to see the finished product in Edinburgh