Thought provoking meets comedy in BIG, at Vault Festival. In the black box theatre space of the Network Theatre, Urvashi Bohra’s script is brought to life. Clever references to modern day culture and well-known Shakespeare are just two ways that Bohra has written a piece that engages its audience and wittily communicates its message and themes.
Erin Gill plays Fat Girl, who is in a relationship with Pizza. The audience sees how this relationship is disapproved of by her mother, who signs her up to a reality TV show, where Hot Boy pledges to transform her into someone who is pretty, by helping her lose weight.
Pizza is played by Geraint Rhys who excellently uses non-verbal communication, with great gesture and a big smile, to personify the character of Pizza. By personifying this item of food, the relationship between Fat Girl and Pizza is brought to life. This makes the character’s journeys much more emotionally engaging for the audience. Fat Girl’s mum is played by Vaani K Sharma and Hot Boy by Ewan Pollitt. The director Georgia Leanne Harris’s clever use of stereotypes in these characters makes the audience’s relationship with them more distinct. It makes Fat Girl’s humanity stand out, and the audience are rooting for her! Their physical cruelty is also made less shocking in what could be sensitive scenes. The director also made good use of character’s facing the audience directly so their facial expressions were clearly seen.
The set is very simple, so the props and set used stand out. For example, the 3 posters of Hot Boy across the back of the stage communicate his celebrity status and vanity very boldly. Lighting is used to compensate for the simple set, and really adds to the atmosphere of the scenes. Projection is also heavily relied upon, and perhaps other creative ways could have been found to show scene changes and settings without simply projecting words onto the screen. Another element that could use a more creative approach in BIG is the constant coming and going of the exits and entrances, which can become distracting.
Overall, the piece achieved its objectives, and the small cast brought energy and enthusiasm. Relationships were well portrayed and comic moments well directed, leaving the audience laughing, whilst still hearing the poignant message of BIG.