Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Fat Girls Don’t Dance review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘candid and disarming’

Maria Ferguson in Fat Girls Don't Dance Maria Ferguson in Fat Girls Don't Dance

“Too fat to play pretty roles. Too pretty to play fat roles.” In Maria Ferguson’s disarming, autobiographical solo spoken-word show, she talks with honesty and openness about her relationship with food.

Ever since she was little Ferguson wanted to be a performer. She spent hours perfecting dance routines. She loved to act. She loved to be on stage. But this wish comes with certain pressures and expectations about what performers should look like.

In Fat Girls Don’t Dance, Ferguson explores the complexity of eating disorders, eloquently illustrating that they’re never just about losing weight but also fundamentally about control. She performs a series of repeated actions, running from one side of the bare black stage to the other, picking up speed. Her dance routines become almost feverish – she really puts herself through it.

She’s an amiable, engaging performer with a fine, strong singing voice, and as she dishes out biscuits and sweet treats to the audience, she makes it clear that even this gesture isn’t a simple one.

The piece could definitely benefit from a little more structure, a little more shape, but particularly in the environment of the fringe, where routines are disrupted and eating habits chaotic, this conversation is an important one.

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Candid, autobiographical solo show exploring body image and disordered eating