Arts & Events, Lifestyle

MW Reviews: Fat Pig – Vanessa Tai

Cow. Slob. Fat Pig. These are cruel names that we can never imagine calling another person, but as the latest Pangdemonium production shows us, there’s a judgmental know-it-all lying within each of us. 

material world_fatpig2

Fat Pig tells the story of a handsome young professional, Tom (Gavin Yap), who finds himself falling in love with Helen (Frances Lee), a plus-sized girl with a big heart and a bigger laugh. However, he faces a lot of pressure from his indignant on-off girlfriend, Jeannie (Elizabeth Lazan), and his obnoxious pal, Carter (Zachary Ibrahim).

Yet, as much as Tom finds himself attracted to Helen, he somehow finds it necessary to keep the object of his desire a secret, away from the judgmental eyes of his peers. In fact, he goes as far as to request for seats at the back of restaurants whenever he’s out with Helen, or sneak into cinema theatres only after the lights have dimmed. Some may argue that perhaps Tom is still a confused little boy trapped in a grown man’s body (his penchant for superhero figurines and baby talk doesn’t help his case) but for me, Tom’s character is a reflection of each and every one of us. As much as we try to do the right thing or follow our hearts, it’s inevitable that we are occasionally swayed by the criticism we receive from the people around us. For example, there was this particular scene where Carter is trying to justify his revulsion towards fat people. To paraphrase, he said something about how human beings are afraid of people who are different from us – the handicapped, the elderly, and the grossly overweight – because we’re afraid we’re one bad fall or a few bags of Oreos away from turning into the very thing that disgusts us. Sadly, this struck a raw nerve in me.

material world_fatpig4

Zachary Ibrahim and Gavin Yap

But this is precisely what I like about Pangdemonium productions – the way they bring to life the thoughts and emotions buried deep within us; vile thoughts that we don’t even allow ourselves to entertain. Beneath every seemingly simple storyline lies a whole mishmash of themes, feelings, and social critique that you’ll be untangling for days or even weeks after the curtains close.

Lazan shines in her role as the angry, bitter Jeannie.

Lazan shines in her role as the angry, bitter Jeannie.

For a relatively unknown cast, the four cast members did a pretty good job of keeping up the energy throughout the play, and keeping the audience engrossed from start to end. Special mention goes out to Elizabeth Lazan and Zachary Ibrahim. From where I was seated (just a few rows from the stage), I could see Lazan really gave her all, especially during particularly emotional scenes where she was screaming. There was a vein throbbing visibly at the side of her neck, and I was worried it would burst if she continued yelling that way! Ibrahim also did such a good job of being a smarmy, cocky douchebag that almost every line he spouted had me alternating between shaking my head or burying my face in my hands.

If you’re the sort who enjoys theatre that makes you think and feel a whole spectrum of emotions, you HAVE TO catch Pangdemonium’s productions. Tickets are selling fast, so grab them now!

Fat Pig is now playing till 2 March, and tickets are available at Sistic

Note: The author was invited to review Fat Pig by Pangdemonium Theatre Company. All opinions are the author’s own. 

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

[If you like this story, you might also like]

1. 10 Minutes With … Frances Lee
2. MW Reviews: The Henderson Project
3. 10 Minutes With … YouthWreck

Standard
Arts & Events, Lifestyle

MW Reviews … The Rabbit Hole (Play) – Vanessa Tai

Whenever I fork out money to catch a Pangdemonium production, I know it’ll be money well spent. Even with this heightened sense of expectation, I was not disappointed by their latest offering – The Rabbit Hole. In fact, I left the theatre an even bigger fan than when I entered.

rabbit hole

This Pulitzer Prize-winning play is a richly layered exploration of one couple’s journey through the aftermath of their young son, Danny’s untimely death. Howie and Becca – played by Adrian Pang and Janice Koh respectively – are equally distraught and heartbroken, but are unable to find comfort in each other. Howie desperately tries to find solace in a support group, while Becca turns to her brash but well-meaning mother and sister for answers. There are no easy answers, however, as the couple soon discovers. As they stumble between the various stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and even acceptance), you’ll soon find yourself identifying with the characters’ very human emotions and actions.

For me, that bittersweet moment of poignancy hit during a particularly moving scene between Becca and her mum (played by Lok Meng Chue.) As they reminisce over Danny’s childhood, a tearful Becca asks, “Does it [the pain] ever go away?” Her mother then says something that had me nodding along furiously while tears flooded my eyes.

“No, but it changes. At some point, it becomes bearable. It turns into something that you can crawl out from under and carry around like a brick in your pocket. And you … you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful … but not all the time. It’s not that you like it exactly, but it’s what you have instead of your son, so you don’t wanna let go of it either. So you carry it around.”

At first glance, The Rabbit Hole may seem like an “emo” play that will leave you feeling depressed. Quite the contrary. It’s actually a an illustration of the indomitable human spirit, and the power of familial love – love that can be messy, complicated and yes, even painful, but as vital to human existence as breathing is.

The Rabbit Hole is currently playing till 12 May at DBS Arts Centre. Get your tickets at Sistic now.

Note: The opinions here are the reviewer’s own. Pangdemonium Productions did not pay for the review.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

Standard