Tuesday, 15 January 2019

REVIEW: Fat Girl Singing - HOME, Manchester.


HOME is once again hosting it’s annual Push Festival; a two week celebration of North West creative talent. Emma Geraghty’s new show ‘Fat Girl Singing’ was co-commissioned by Manchester-based hÅb for the 2018 Works Ahead programme.

In ‘Fat Girl Singing’ Emma Geraghty shares her relationship with music and with her body through original songs and personal anecdotes. And even her stories have a music to them, with a rhythm and cadence much closer to spoken word poetry.

This one-woman show follows Emma from 5 years old through to her current 27 years, covering experiences and struggles like the prejudice of medical professionals who refuse to see anything but fat, the crime of being a sexual entity while fat, expressions of femininity, and her reclamation of herself and the word ‘fat’. She also explores the idea that we show different faces to different people by how we talk about these struggles; what we tell our family, what we tell our friends and what we might keep only for ourselves… and maybe a theatre full of strangers.

This is a very personal show. Emma shares a great deal of herself in her performance, showing us her sadness, frustration, anger and her self-acceptance. There is a real vulnerability here too and that shows us all her real strength. And the audience responded to that.

Emma is a confident performer with a well-polished and carefully structured show. And while the tone does get a little heavy at times, Emma knows exactly when and how to get laughs. She also hands out biscuits, beer and tequila to the audience and that certainly doesn’t hurt.

In short, this is an hour of inspiring theatre. Emma takes a moment or two to criticise the hollow hashtags that fill social media and encourages her audience to more solid action; calling for us to ‘burn it all down’. In a figurative sense. Probably. But where the motivational meme is sweet and flowery, Emma’s message has a flavour of self-righteous anger, of seeing something broken and needing to fix it. Acceptance is more than just self-love, it’s advocating for your right to simply be in the world without conditions.

For anyone who has ever been or felt ‘fat’, there is a tremendous amount of truth and resonance to Emma’s stories. There is a real sense of acknowledgement of a shared experience and of being seen. And I see you Emma Geraghty. And I hope many more people do too.

Reviewer - Deanna Turnbull
on - 14/1/19

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