Review: Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap at Erskineville Town Hall

By Liam Shand Egan


How Drama’s show ‘Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap’ opened Tuesday September 24th at the Erskineville Town Hall. The 5 person troupe, hailing from Singapore, opens with an ambitious goal: 31 sketches in only 60 minutes, with the twist being the audience are the ones who decide the order. This creative, entertaining and at times bewildering production will liven up any audience’s evening.  The staging for the show is simple: props for various scenes are littered on the edges of the stage and all scene numbers and titles are hung above it like bunting. This design goes perfectly with the challenge of the show - the quantity and speed of all sketches. The design also allows for a sense of progression throughout the show and gives those last 10 minutes a palpable tension. It enlivens the old concept of a revue brilliantly and will impress anyone. You root for this group to succeed in their mission and if you can make me root for improv, you’re doing something amazing. Also, the choice to use an e-program was an awesome concept for me and more shows should adopt this as standard going forward. The concept was devised by the entire troupe, director Melissa Sim and co-writer Jeremy Au Yong and I really enjoyed it. Hats off to the writing efforts of Sim and Au Yong for so many relatable and sharp pieces. There is no messing around in delivering the jokes and they should be commended for their diligence.  The cast is wonderful, each member is well cast and they all seem to be having a fantastic time. Ross Nasir has a brilliant stage presence and comedic timing and quite honestly, one of the best singing voices I’ve ever heard. Vester Ng and Carina Mcwhinnie are brilliant throughout the show but they shine in ‘Ode to Youtube’ that became my favourite sketch of the night. Pavan J. Singh has incredible comedic timing and plays an excellent straight man throughout and Day Cutiongco adding brilliant pieces of physical acting. The show’s best pieces are anything involving music with incredible vocals and hilarious parody lyrics that will put the biggest smiles on audiences’ faces. A pitfall for this show are two sketches relating to LGBT issues. Due to the random nature, the piece titled ‘Jason’ was the 3rd one on deck for me and halted any laughs that came before. The issue with their inclusion is by surrounding this heavy issue with light-hearted and silly humour, it feels inappropriate to even enjoy the scene from a dramatic standpoint and the audience is left off-balance. While the show does not make any derogatory remarks, audiences should be aware that the thematic shift is very abrupt and left me in shock.  ‘Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap’ is awesome! It’s a well-performed, well-curated sketch show that will have any audience run the full gambit of laughs from groaners to gut-busters. It’s a gripping, light-hearted and topical show that I thoroughly enjoyed (my criticisms not withstanding) and you should see this show before they close. Hats off to this incredible group and I hope that they make their way back to Sydney soon.  ‘Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap’ is playing at the Erskineville Town Hall as part of Sydney Fringe till Saturday September 28th. 

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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