Neil Labute is a critically acclaimed and controversial American playwright who has built a reputation on his ability to address social themes featuring true to life cynical and self-absorbed characters.
On their first outing, Lab Kelpie Productions presented his acerbic comedy, Fat Pig at Prahran’s Chapel off Chapel for a limited season.
Written in 2004, Fat Pig tells of Tom (Lyall Brooks) who falls in love with the plus-sized Helen (Lulu McClatchy), yet there is no way he can tell his colleagues (Patrick Harvey and Cassandra Magrath) about his burgeoning romance.
Forced to explain his new relationship, he finally comes to terms with his own preconceptions of the importance of conventional good looks – there is no happy ending!
Director Daniel Frederiksen has delivered an overly solid production transporting it from contemporary America to the localised setting of Melbourne.
Labute’s script is brash and unapologetic, which the cast handles moderately well. Weaving social commentary with humour via these morally flawed characters, we the audience, find ourselves laughing at this humour and put-downs even though we know just how cruel they are.
Tanje Ruddick’s lighting and sound was balanced and neither intrusive, complimenting Peter Mumford’s simple design consisting of 3 main playing areas. Though the metal barriers, while giving the impression of sow stalls, made the set look cluttered and confined. The projected images were visually distracting, posing more questions than answers.
Director: Daniel Frederiksen Cast: Lyall Brooks, Cassandra Magrath, Patrick Harvey and Lulu McClatchy Set Design: Peter Mumford Sound & Lighting: Tanje Ruddick Produced by Adam Fawcett & Lyall Brooks
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Thursday 10 October 2013
Season continues to 20 October 2013
Bookings: (03) 8290 7000 or online at: www.chapeloffchapel.com.au
For more information, visit: www.labkelpie.com for details.
Image: Lyall Brooks & Lulu McClatchy by Sarah Walker
Review: Rohan Shearn