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Fat Blokes review at Southbank Centre, London –’visibility, vulnerability and sensuality’

Scottee and the cast of Fat Blokes at Southbank Centre, London
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With the help of four participants (some of whom have never performed professionally before), Scottee is staging a fat rebellion. It’s a forum and ‘sort of’ dance show, celebratory and sad. It’s a fervent protest against the shame and scapegoating heaped on fat bodies.

As an audience we’re urged to be kind. But Scottee is anything but simpering and sweet. His arch irascibility is part of his charm. Dance fans have come to the wrong show, he says. Arts lovers can fuck off. Especially if our applause is patronising, our support just a one-night-only liberal platitude. This is a show “for fatties”, an invocation to take up more room, to enter the “confusing headspace of fat” unknown to thin middle-class “kombucha cunts” who fret about the strain of obesity on the NHS.

A stack of fridges and boxes make up a backdrop, out of which the performers unfurl microphones and take centre stage to share their stories. They are deeply personal and inevitably political, shaded by attendant issues of class, race, religion and sexuality.

Sam (who has a sonorous voice) relates a story of being glassed by ‘a fellow homo’ while strolling through Soho singing Anything Goes. Asad tells of self-loathing, paternal estrangement and dating apps with a wonderfully dynamic sense of sass and sincerity. Ebullient Gez – the most uncomplicatedly proud of his body – delivers a strutting dance solo.

Finally, all five unsheathe their stomachs, their bodies bouncing together to the beat. Here is visibility, vulnerability and sensuality writ large.

 

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Verdict
Poignant, unsentimental exploration of fat queer masculinity excellently interweaves dance and personal memories
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