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Theater Review: 'Fat Pig' at the REP East
'Miracle of the Pigs' photo by kpe II via LAist flickr pool
What does society really think when a fit, good-looking guy dates a heavy-set woman? Neil Labute certainly lets the audience know in his play Fat Pig, running tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm at the Repertory East Playhouse in Newhall.
It’s a boy-meets-girl story with a twist: comedy and light romance laced with vitriol. Tom (Shane Stevens) is the typical white-collar worker who falls for Helen (Joy Nash), though she’s far far removed from a size 6. He loves how Helen's comfortable with herself, accepting her own--and his--flaws.
But alas, the words “happily ever after”aren’t in Labute’s vernacular. Tom and Helen have the odds stacked against them, and are constantly reminded of this by his venomous co-workers. Carter (Tyler Brooks) is Labute’s archetypical misogynist who taunts Tom every chance he gets. Jeannie’s (Leslie Connelly) the scorned ex-girlfriend who unleashes her fury with choice four-letter words. She can’t understand why Tom finds Helen so attractive, when she’s ... fat.
Helen realizes that Tom keeps her away from his friends, and questions why. But she knows even when he gives her a non-answer. In the play's heart-wrenching ending scene, well-played by the leads, Helen offers to change for him, leading to an ending that isn't unexpected.
The production’s one major fault was its awkward staging and set design. The last scene takes place on a beach, and it’s distracting to see a desk, table and bed directly behind the leads. Maybe a black screen instead? But that aside, Fat Pig is worth the trip to the SCV. It makes us uncomfortable because as a society, we can be so damn judgmental, can’t we? (Like how many douchebags do you pick out in a crowded bar on Saturday night?)
And that's one of the marks of a good play: It makes us think far beyond the surface.
Rep East Playhouse
24266 Main St., Newhall
Tonight and tomorrow at 8 pm
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