Review by James Mukheibir
“I am a Man” - exclaims Happy Feraren. Without question, she becomes one. Unashamedly occupying space and exuding self-confidence. Strutting around the stage, the world bows down beneath Happy’s regal white high heels. The Man takes many forms throughout this tight one-act piece but they all serve a similar purpose.
In Man, we see the opposite of a fat virgin. In Man, we see the root cause of many a fat virgin. In Man, we see someone who will never understand what it means to be a fat virgin.
Three Fat Virgins Unassembled, presented by Slanted Theatre on the KXT stage, is a boisterous, hilarious and powerful piece that exudes fun while it explores the female experience and delves into cultural cycles of patriarchal perpetuation. It does this with swagger and confidence, fluidly moving through a collection of linked vignettes that each pop with spirited characters, musical numbers and judo flips.
The ensemble cast were excellent in their agility and commitment to each new character and theme, with infectious chemistry that was a joy to watch. The classy direction by Tiffany Wong ensured that the pockets of personalities and skits were cohesive, with the critiques and cultural significance inherent to the piece threaded throughout with care. The set design by Sarah Amin was also top-notch; effective in its simple concept and gorgeous in its execution, aiding the flow and unwavering energy that kept the audience strapped in for the wild and wacky ride.
The pantomime style of the show maintains its momentum, whisking the audience away to dip into the various scenes and captured experiences. This style also allows the important messages of the play to be properly digested, and the meaning behind the confronting, and much repeated, label of ‘fat virgin’ is uncovered.
Many of us have been fat virgins at some point. Not literally, but rather as a figurative sense of worth. As people beholden to the eyes and whims of others to define our worth, willing to sacrifice our own values to fulfil theirs.
In this sense, Three Fat Virgins Unassembled is relatable and recognisable to the entire audience but it is also wonderfully refreshing to see the cultural and gender specific aspects to Ovidia Yu’s script be given the floor. The cast and crew navigate this space with fantastic crackle with familiarity and self-awareness that breaks the monotony of euro-centric male voices and experiences so often found in theatre.
Slanted Theatre has made a point of presenting these voices and their truth, and are a welcome addition to the Australian theatre landscape - especially if their future productions are as enjoyable as this one.
Three Fat Unassembled is on at KXT until the 4th of December.