Pete Edwards in FAT.Photo courtesy of petetheartist.co.uk.
BOTTOM LINE: A riveting fantasy journey through London’s South Bank.
Let’s imagine that Pete Edwards is the white rabbit. Leaving you to be Alice, naturally. He offers you a rabbit hole and despite, perhaps, your socially instructed hesitations, you decide to take the fall. And down down down you go, until you find yourself in FAT, Edwards’s delectably bizarre solo show, playing in the Pleasance Courtyard Beneath.
Edwards presents himself on a beautiful, calm summer night strolling along London’s South Bank, admiring the view of famous sites like the London Eye, the Gherkin, the Globe Theatre. If only he had a nice, plump male companion, he laments. Each Thames-side attraction sets Edwards off on a flight of absurd fancy, in which he meets mermen, cat-men, and finally the roly-poly man of his dreams. Every tumble into absurdity is paired with bizarre and then psychedelic projected images, warped and weird and witty. Every wild fantasy is trumped by the next, and each one is book-ended by calm and simple admirations of the famous landmarks.
Throughout it all, Edwards is the bewitching element. Wheelchair bound, Edwards has Cerebral Palsy, and though verbally incapacitated in a conventional sense, he goes about his business alongside placid projected images of this warm London evening, moving himself across the stage with effort, underscored by supertitles and often a voice-over, allowing you to follow his every action. The courageous permission that he gives his audience is remarkable and inescapable. Taboos thrust asunder, Edwards is letting you see him, watch him, discover his intimate fantasies and desires, and challenging you to laugh. And the laughter does come. Edwards’s weird and twisted humor cuts through the highly tensioned, underground Pleasance Courtyard theatre; cuts through the feelings of astonishment, to unify the space.
Boldly and brutally honest, Edwards breath-takingly provides the audience with a mixture of his daily banalities and his deepest cravings and he dares you to watch.(FAT plays at Pleasance Courtyard Beneath, 60 Pleasance, through August 26th, daily at 12:40pm. Tickets are £9 (concessions available) and are available at edfringe.com. More information available at petetheartist.co.uk.)
*THEASY THUMBS-UP RATING SYSTEM
EdFringe shows are rated on a 1 through 5 scale:
1 - Needs Work; 2 - Has Potential; 3 - Enjoyable But Not Life Changing; 4 - Really Great Theatre; 5 - Best Of The Fest...A Must See!