HOME Manchester – until 23 March 2019
Guest reviewer: Megan Hyland
Fat Blokes is not your typical dance show. It’s witty, queer, honest, and uncomfortable in all the right places. It’s nothing you expect it to be, but everything that it should be. Scottee, Asad Ullah, Joe Spencer, Gez (Graham Mercer) and Sam Buttery take to the stage to tell you their stories and break down your preconceptions about what it means to be fat. They are here to bare their souls and their bodies, and they’re not apologising for either.
Director and performer Scottee has created a striking blend of personal and political, using dance and monologue to depict the performers’ experiences. The monologues in this performance are hard-hitting and powerful, from Asad’s emotional confession about his relationship with his father, to Sam’s recollection of a Soho attack that will leave you shifting in your seat.
As much as the show is about pride and anger, it’s also about vulnerability. These men may command the stage with their bold personalities, but they also captivate you with raw emotion. This blend of bravado and sensitivity is carried off expertly, rather than creating a jarring jump-cut between touching personal stories and confident strutting to blaring music, Scottee has threaded this performance together so that the tone flows seamlessly.
This is not a show that takes itself too seriously, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a show to be taken seriously. These men are not afraid to have a laugh at the audience, or at themselves, but they are not here to be laughed at. This isn’t just a show for the audience, or for fat people around the country – this is a show for them, the performers. These men are opening themselves up and exploring their relationships with their bodies night by night, guaranteeing that every show will be unique, as these relationships are ever-changing.
Fat Blokes is a breath of fresh air. These men do not hold anything back, and what I liked most about the show was the sense of comradery and friendship between them. They help and support each other throughout the performance, encouraging one another to be vulnerable but also to be proud. They laugh with one another, and help each other through the difficult moments. For some of them, this is a celebration of their body, of self-love, others are still trying to get there. And for all, it’s a big fat revolution.
Fat Blokes runs at HOME Manchester until Saturday 23 March 2019.
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