Fatty Fat Fat @ Pleasance Courtyard
A charming and witty exploration of the way in which our language and experience is personally defined and created by contemporary body image politics
Katie Greenall welcomes us into her small space while she dances to the famous Cha Cha Slide against a backdrop of sparkling pink glitter streamers and three balloons which spell FAT. She begins the show as she means to go on – occasionally conversing with the audience, making jokes and making sure that we are comfortable while she continues to dance for us. This theme runs throughout her work, in which she relates her constant need to perform as a product of her to desire to be accepted by those around her in order to accept herself, and her size, which has, until recently, been continuously defined, by others rather than herself, as ‘fat’.
Greenall does this through a series of sketches, in between which she returns to her microphone to the side of the stage and tells anecdotes in which her ‘fatness’ has been put upon her by others throughout her life, most notably by her mother. These short stories run like clips which are witty and relatable.
Nonetheless, Greenall does well to stress their seriousness, succeeding to catch our laughter in our throats with her cutting punchlines that emphasize the way in which our language and attitude towards ‘fatness’ can have painful and enduring effects on those who bear the brunt of the joke. This undercurrent of suffering becomes more and more amplified throughout the show in her sketches as she both performs to the stereotypes she sets up around ‘fatness’, whilst successfully exemplifying their ridiculous nature and also their brutality.
Funny, witty and engaging, Greenall’s comedy sparkles in front of her pink glitter streamers with a relatable warmth that is as personal as it is political, making the poignancy of her point of pain last much longer than our laughter.
Fatty Fat Fat, Pleasance Courtyard (The Attic), until 26 Aug (not 13), 3.15pm, £10 (£9)