Sunday, September 26, 2010
Last night I saw the Pipeline Theatre Company's Fat Kids On Fire, an original play written by Bekah Brunstetter and directed by Peter Frechette. It was a funny, well-acted show that excellently captured the social awkwardness of teenagers with low self-esteem due to body image issues.
Fat Kids On Fire is about Bess, an insecure teenager who gets the opportunity to lose weight and build up her self confidence by going to Fat Camp for the summer. As the skinniest girl there, Bess immediately becomes admired and popular. But all the attention replaces her endearing quirkiness with bitchy egotism. In the end, being the hot, popular girl at camp turns out to be more isolating than being the invisible, slightly chubby girl back home.
The humor and the solid performances help keep the play's familiar themes fresh. During certain scenes, I genuinely felt uneasy watching the characters' insecurities unfold. All the actors did a great job of showing the gawkiness of being uncomfortable in one's own skin. Concepts like eating one's emotions or bullying as a means of projecting one's own insecurities onto others were also well-conveyed. Sydney Matthews did an especially fantastic job portraying Bess' character arc.
I really recommend that you go catch Fat Kids On Fire in its final week at The Wings Theatre. It's playing September 29-October 2; all 8 pm showings. For tickets and more info, please visit www.pipelinetheatre.org.