Review by Sarah Bradley
I was a little worried when the show opened with circus music, a man with a clown nose and a fat suit, and a strange sequence of umbrellas appearing from his pant legs. However, there were some shining moments in this oddball play about a magician who wants to shed some pounds and find his perfect lady.
After being formally introduced to the crowd as Mr. Fuzzy, the obviously nervous magician proceeded to perform a series of bumbling but nevertheless entertaining tricks, interspersed with singing narration in the style of Neil Diamond, for whom Mr. Fuzzy has an unexplained reverence. While I am certainly no fan of Mr. Diamond, the actor’s impressions of his singing voice were spot-on, although the lyrics were overblown.
The Fat Guy may not be great at tricks, but he does physical comedy very well, with the “walking in place” sequences being particularly entertaining. He also played with lighting and sound by sometimes going out of character to adjust them.
One problem with the progression of scenes was that they often did not transition smoothly. Perhaps it was intentional, but it seemed more like a disjointed bunch of scenes cut and pasted together rather than a fully developed play. I also questioned the character development of Mr. Fuzzy: he was not given a back story, besides his struggles with weight, and many of his traits seemed given to him arbitrarily, including his name.
While the program description alludes to the “most enormous obstacle” he must overcome, it was difficult to grasp his struggle. Since there was no compelling reason for why he wanted to be the greatest magician and to find love, when he eventually triumphs (at least in part), I could not really celebrate with him – likeable as he was.
One of the most entertaining parts of the play for me was the lengthy audience participation element. My beautiful friend was chosen to act the “dream girl” that Mr. Fuzzy pursues, and they did an amazing job acting out a whirlwind summer, including surfing, volleyball, rollercoasters, and dancing. I was impressed by their improvisational skills, and they played off each other’s verbal and physical cues very well. Perhaps a female part weaving in and out of the rest of the play would have helped Mr. Fuzzy show his personality and get us to care a little more when he eventually finds success.
The Fat Guy Show is playing at Studio Léonard-Beaulne (135 Seraphin-Marion) on Saturday June 16 at 9:00pm, Sunday June 17 at 9:30pm, Tuesday June 19 at 7:00pm, Wednesday June 20 at 5:30pm, and Sunday June 24 at 7:30pm.