Edinburgh Fringe 2012
A new writing production mocking and parodying our obsession with gym culture, the body beautiful and our own self-loathing about our bodies.
This piece of musical theatre from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a funny, sharply observed piece of new writing. A parody of our obsession with body image and the extreme lengths which we go to in order to change them through strict dieting and gym regimes through to physical modification and enhancement, no stone (ahem!) is left unturned in this shows mockery of our search for body perfection and its ultimate impossibility to achieve.
Singing in earnest the youthful ensemble cast are in fine voice as they portray different characters and aspects of people who inhabit the gym from trainers obsessed with sex and men who have abandoned their families in search of finer pecs through to women working out but simultaneously eating their feelings and girls verging on the anorexic, obsessed with the unattainable air-brushed body beautiful presented in the media.
The characters all hate their own bodies whilst desperately hoping to look like one single gym member (the title hero of the piece) who in turn hates her own body is at the centre of this story dripping with grim irony.
Clever rhyming schemes and amusingly witty and self-knowing lyrics accompany a varied selection of tunes telling the story from an outside observer perspective (that of a mysterious “Doctor” and his assistant) as they investigate the cause of the obsession or “disease” as they refer to it and travel through the increasingly dark and twisted bowels of the gym to resolve the problem with the aid of the gym’s computer simply entitled “mother” who resides over proceeds with a sinisterly beatific smile.
A piece of Musical theatre with a contemporary resonance, this work is from the previous award-winning Kielty brothers and does not disappoint. With inventive use of staging (off or otherwise) hiding the lack of budget, the visual imagery and dialogue is peppered with pop culture and film references (watch out for the hilarious nod towards the Evil Dead) and even a few interludes for “adverts” clearly inspired by 3am infomercial viewing, this show had the audience laughing out loud throughout, which as we all know, is definitely the best medicine. A show guaranteed to make you feel better about your own body image.