Fat Pig

This show has now closed, click here for a listing of current and future London shows

Previewed 16 May 2008, Opened 27 May 2008, Closed 6 September 2008 at the Trafalgar Studios in London
Transferred 11 September 2008, Closed 29 November 2008 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London

Neil LaBute's new comedy Fat Pig in London directed by the playwright Neil LaBute.

When Tom first meets Helen there is an instant connection, but it's not exactly love at first sight... Helen is a bright, funny, sexy young woman who happens to be plus-sized - and then some - so it's only so long before the jokes start to fly from Tom's office buddies. The country's hottest actor-comedians star in this funny, searing and ultimately touching love story.

The cast for Fat Pig in London features Kevin Bishop, Kelly Brook, Nicholas Burns and Katie Kerr. The production is directed by Neil LaBute with designs by Christopher Oram, lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Fergus O'Hare. The original cast, at the Trafalgar Studios featured Kris Marshall, Joanna Page, Robert Webb and Ella Smith.

"Neil LaBute's best trick, and maybe his only one, is to take men behaving badly and exaggerate their callousness and one-upmanship to blackly comic effect. But the juicier questions are never confronted. Why are we so obsessed by weight, diets, body image? Any number of reasons suggest themselves... but, disappointingly, none are addressed. LaBute's own direction is static and unremarkable, and the set doesn't distract. The dialogue is terrific, though, and the smaller social observations cut like a tummy-tuck surgeon's scalpel." The Sunday Times

"Neil LaBute's new work is being staged at the Trafalgar Studios, a plucky little venue in Whitehall that needs all the support it can get. I also approve of LaBute's central thesis that we are living in a society that is unhealthily obsessed with looks... And yet this story of how Robert Webb's office worker appals his colleagues by falling for Miss Smith's 'big-boned' character is strangely uninvolving... LaBute has tried to give it the feeling of an episode of Friends or Frasier with the jokey title to each scene projected onto the stage and bursts of cacophonous music. It is too flippant an approach to take to a serious theme and the comic-book-style acting only makes things worse." The Sunday Telegraph

"Fat Pig begins well. Helen is a bigger than bumper-size beauty, so happy in her own skin that she is stuffing down a lunchtime pizza when a guy comes to share her table. Slim Tom is nibbling a salad. 'I'm pretty all right with who I am; the trick is getting other people OK with it,' says Helen. The two start dating and Tom declares he loves every extensive inch of her. But Tom's so paranoid about the opinions of others that he initially hides their relationship and, once outed, continues to keep Helen hidden from his workmates, body-fascist Carter and slim, jealous ex-Jeannie. Neil LaBute's subject is our overwhelming need to conform. But while he binges on bad jokes about women, his exploration of the reasons why people are so spineless - and why Helen eats so much - remains anorexic. In this well performed production, Ella Smith is impressive as Helen, wittily making light of her weight until the final scene when, broken-hearted, she offers to 'do something radical to myself if you want me to'. The play itself, however, feels thin." The Mail on Sunday

Neil LaBute, the writer and director of Fat Pig says about his play: "As this play heads into its London premiere, it prompts a certain amount of introspection. I've often been asked who I see myself as when I write, which character is really me. In the past, I've been coy or clever or a bit of a smart-ass about it, falling back on the tired adage 'There's a bit of me in all of them.' In this case, though, I suppose it's true. But not just a bit. I see a lot of myself in Fat Pig; whatever the name of the piece, the story really deals with human weakness and the difficulty many people face when trying to stand up for, live up to, or come out for something they believe in. And that's pretty much me in a nutshell - well-meaning as can be, but surprisingly lame when push comes to shove. Heroism, it would seem, is a tough gig. As for the characters who populate Fat Pig, I love them all because they are so desperately human - they want to have convictions but, in the end, they'd rather be liked or get their needs met. They're not conventionally likeable, perhaps, but they're absolutely recognisable as people. Actually, I don't ever worry too much about the audience liking my characters or wanting to see them in a sequel or buying some merchandise related to the show. Leave that to the movies. All I care about is creating individuals who are as interesting and complex as people are in life. I hope I've done that here."

Fat Pig in London at the Trafalgar Studios 1 previewed from 16 May 2008, opened on 27 May 2008 and closed on 6 September 2008, transferred to the Harold Pinter from 11 September 2008 and closed on 29 November 2008.