30th Jan – 3rd Feb
A review by Pearl Esfahani
To the rattling and hiss of spray cans as urban artists line what would otherwise be a dark tunnel with their signature colours, crowds of of curious theatre goers make their way through. Tucked away from the touristy hustle of London’s South Bank, within the arches of Waterloo Station, in the vaults in fact, is the aptly named Vault Festival which runs from January – March each year. For a few months these, damp and dingy rooms become a hotbed of creativity. Whatever show you’re about to see, (and I’m happy to say this year the programme looks particularly exciting), you know it’s going to be fresh and new. Comedy, club nights, immersive theatre, new writing, spoken word, puppetry, or even a mash up of all of the above. Vault festival is the time of year to see innovative theatre from an array of artists.
Tonight I’m here to see Katie Greenall’s Fatty Fat Fat. As the audience enter Greenall is throwing herself into the Cha Cha Slide, with a backdrop of helium balloons spelling out FAT behind her. The atmosphere sits somewhere between a birthday party and those themed workouts at the gym. Either way it feels fun, the audience are charmed by Greenall’s personable nature. The show is personal, as photos and moments of her life are shared with us. Those off the cuff comments about the way we look that a classmate, or even a family member makes as a kid, that they would forget within seconds but we remember for a lifetime. Through a clever game-show part of the piece (with a fabulous outfit pulled from a glitter covered fridge), Greenall invites the audience to take her body in. Through seemingly light hearted questions such as ‘how many Skittles can I hold under my chin?’ we inevitably have to make judgements on her physical mass. The performer’s poetry is where the show really comes into its own. Heartfelt and visceral, I’ve never heard stretch marks described so beautifully. Each scar evidence of ‘pain your body can no longer hold onto’. The show is funny, frank, and incredibly moving. This is not a sloganistic ‘love your body’ show, (easier said than done), and Greenall is honest about her ups and downs. Rather, the piece is an invitation to not use someone’s body as a political landscape, as judgement and blame for society’s ailments. It is Katie Greenall’s attempt to take her body back.
The show plans to tour so if it ends up coming to you I would urge you to invest an hour of your time to see it.
Writer & Performer: Katie Greenall
Director: Madelaine Moore
Producer: Daisy Hale