Writer: Pete Edwards
Director: Michael Achtman
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
On leaving Fat, another audience member observed: “I think that is the most remarkable thing I’ve ever seen”. The word she chose was entirely accurate, because Pete Edwards is nothing if not remarkable. Pete is a performer, writer and artist. Pete is also a gay man with cerebral palsy. While none of these things define who he is, they certainly influence his work, in particular the way in which it is communicated to the audience. The piece is performed by Pete alongside projected films with voiceover and surtitles, plus the performance is signed and also available with audio description so as to make it fully accessible.
Utilising all of these elements in the creation of the piece, Pete has woven together a funny, surreal and uplifting tale of desire. The concept of someone with a disability as a sexual being is not one that is often addressed or touched upon, but this work does just that. Full of hilariously surreal vignettes on film and a striking visual representation of a night of passion with spaghetti-making Dave, Pete is clearly an artist who appreciates his uniquely different abilities rather than focussing on negatives. He has two enablers to help him in this, assisting with certain practicalities, however the performance is entirely his own – a wholly communicative and immersive experience that draws you in to a world that is fascinating and unfamiliar.
There are some poignant moments in Fat that run alongside the humour, and one of the lines from his poem towards the end of the piece speaks volumes: “To work my mind when body’s work expires”. An inspirational performer and a engaging piece of work, this is a production that both challenges perceptions and entertains.
Until 26th August