Edmonton Journal

August 19, 2012

All this fancy Fringe talk about “pushing the envelope?” So much blather, my friends, like those insipid “disturbing content” and “onstage smoking” warnings for one-man soul-searchers. Let’s talk about shoving a big fat explosive device around the stage instead, along with the F-bomb in all its glorious permutations. Yes, sometimes the Fringe doesn’t whisper sweet nothings in your ear. Sometimes it bellows, spits in your face, and laughs right at you for buying a ticket and watching.

Fatboy is like that. Starting with your potential in-laws, there’s a long list of people you shouldn’t take to see this gleeful and scoriating satire on everything America stands for in the world, i.e. the insatiable appetite for everything, and more of it than anybody else. Conservatives will hate it. Liberals will hate it. Hell, people devoted to the concept of reasonableness and moderation will hate it. Fatboy, the star of this knockabout farce by American writer John Clancy (a co-founder of the New York Fringe), is a ranting, cursing, gluttonous, murdering megalomaniac who shouts all the time, hurls insults, humps and consumes everything in sight. He is inspired by Alfred Jarry’s monster Ubu Roi of the late 19th century, who rampages through Europe killing everyone. “I Am Fatboy And I Am God!” Everything Fatboy says is in caps, with explanation points and multiple F-words (Please just imagine them throughout. Thank you, the Editor).

Frederick Zbryski is, in a word, riotous (and in two, tireless) in the role, as he roars for pancakes and is briefly dismayed to find himself eating his own chair. Fatboy is gross excess on legs. And, following suit, in a precisely executed white-faced clown cartoon of a show, is Dave Horak’s exuberant production, which might know when to say when but dismisses that tired old scruple like so much lint in Fatboy’s belly button.

Nothing is sacred. “What of art? Beauty? Truth?” he wonders aloud to his slutty wife Fudgie (Melissa Thingelstad). After a pregnant pause, they both dissolve into shrieks of laughter. “Justice? Honour? Truth?” Same effect. Fudgie’s unmistakable fondness for her hubbie — “you fat disgusting monster, we are destitute you lumbering wreck” — doesn’t prevent a wandering eye for the boarder (Mathew Hulshof). “I’ll do you like a duty that’s better left undone,” he leers.

Every one of Horak’s actors rises — actually, that’s “lowers” — to the occasion, which comes at you like a puppet theatre for grotesques. Ian Leung turns in a very funny performance as a distractible judge at Fatboy’s mass murder tribunal. “You’re a shout-y person, aren’t you?” he observes mildly. “Can I get anyone a drink?”

This is fun because it’s so sharply executed. Fun, but tiring. The only way to go, under the circumstances, is for broke.

  1. -Liz Nicholls


Bryan Saunders

This show is most easily described as a cross between Jay and Silent Bob and the Rocky Horror Show. The first of these because of the hundreds and hundreds of expletives (no exaggeration) and the second of these for the vast amount of sexual content and satire. And like both of these shows, Fatboy is quite funny and entertaining—as long as you’re not easily offended. The title character, Fatboy, epitomizes greed and violence. The goal? To satirize the real world and its supposed fairness and justice, or lack thereof. High production values and good acting only add to this show’s dark appeal.  4 Stars / Five


CAST & CREWFatboy_Cast.html

Fatboy was originally produced at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2004.

Produced in Spring 2006 at the Soho Think Tank.

Winner of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award, 2004

The Canadian premiere is being produced at the 2012 Edmonton Fringe with special permission from Samuel French.

“...highly entertaining...knockabout satire....John Clancy’s absurdist indictment of the American appetite for power, violence and generally more of everything...a comedy that in the end, demands that you stop laughing.”

The New York Times

“....very entertaining...and not just a little bit scary...Monty Python on speed with no censorial hand in sight...Brecht on speed. It’s not just compelling, it’s spooky. FATBOY is a play about laughing all the way to our mass destruction.”

Martin Denton nytheatre.com

“a high-octane, profanity studded and vicious assault…performances so far over the top that they are half way down the other side…A splendid grand guignol pantomime”

The Times of London

“This is brilliant political satire, hitting the zeitgeist right where it hurts, and meshing that with the frustrated yearning for international law and justice…a groundbreaking piece of American absurdism…an important theatrical moment….” 

The Scotsman

“stunning…splendid…astonishing…revivifies the idea of agit prop in such a manner as no-one in their right senses could deny it’s relevance to modern theatre”

The List (Edinburgh)

“a 70-minute blitzkrieg in three acts…an impressively unrestrained production”

The Financial Times

2014 - The Season Opens: 
Enter Fatboy, on the Rampage!
“You go, it’s fun, you’re having a great time…. And then the play turns on you,” says Dave Horak cheerfully. “Yup, it flips. Its target isn’t right-wing conservatives. It’s the liberal arts-loving theatre-going audience. YOU! Theatre Network’s audience. It dares you to stand it, to stay in your seats!”http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/09/17/the-season-opens-enter-fatboy-on-the-rampage/http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/09/17/the-season-opens-enter-fatboy-on-the-rampage/http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2014/09/17/the-season-opens-enter-fatboy-on-the-rampage/shapeimage_5_link_0shapeimage_5_link_1
Fatboy a great production that may hit a little too close to home - AFTER THE LIGHTS.COMhttp://afterthehouselights.com/2014/09/19/fatboy-a-great-production-that-may-hit-a-little-too-close-to-home/
Fatboy at the Roxy so funny it’s exhausting - EDMONTON JOURNALhttp://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/Theatre+review+Fatboy+Roxy+funny+exhausting/10218865/story.html
FATBOY - PREVUE - VUE MAGAZINEhttp://www.vueweekly.com/fatboy/