“Fat Pig” 

Weekend Theater

Neil LaBute's “Fat Pig,” the story of a thin man, the overweight woman he falls for and the cruel friends who sabotage the relationship, is populated with characters whose actions are so over-the-top it can be hard to identify with them. And though the Weekend Theatre's production starts off promisingly, particularly with the actress who plays the overweight Helen, its cast ultimately struggles to bring the characters to life.

Tom, an average-sized man, is attracted to Helen because she is real and sincere. But the people who work with Tom are shallow, soap-opera exaggerations of presumably real personality types who call Helen a “pig” and a “fat bitch.”

Tom's co-workers are the true fat pigs of the play, meant to represent the collective “we” — but, on the contrary, they only represent a distinct segment of the population. Few of us can imagine sending out a photo of our co-worker's overweight girlfriend in a mass e-mail to the company, as one character, Carter, does. Carter, I presume, is meant to depict a guy's guy — ogling the photos in Maxim magazine, loafing at work, able to talk about nothing more than hot chicks and basketball. Then there's Jeannie, a frenzied 28-year-old whose melodramatic attacks on Tom after their relationship ends are so out of hand they become comic.

Their comments about Helen torture Tom — but because the opinions of these superficial people deserve no respect, his turmoil ultimately seems absurd.

The Weekend Theatre's production seemed quite promising at the opening scene. Helen and Tom happen upon one another at a crowded eatery during lunch hour. Melissa Neal as Helen was pitch-perfect in her performance, playing up Helen's sharp, witty personality. Neal was the only actor who consistently filled her role as if she was comfortable in it, able to navigate the territory of Helen with ease. Justin Pike, playing Tom, reached his pinnacle at the production's start. In this first scene, both actors had believable chemistry bubbling between them.

Yet the energy was not sustained. Tom is a skittish, awkward character, but it became difficult at times to distinguish if it was Tom being awkward, or simply the actor playing him. Exaggerated acting mimicked the overblown characters. There was a lot of strained body movements, and excessive, heavy sighing. Only Neal had moments when you no longer saw the actress, but the Helen she was supposed to be.

The Weekend Theatre's mission of raising social awareness is a noble one, and pulling off such weighty productions with a cast of volunteers who can only rehearse in their spare time must not be an easy one. “Fat Pig” will make you laugh, and for that alone it could be worth a ticket, but it may not pierce much deeper than its humor.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Dolores Alfieri

  • ‘Sweeney Todd’

    Weekend Theater, June 6
    • Jun 12, 2008
  • Mountain music

    The acclaimed musical ‘Fire on the Mountain’ comes to the Rep.
    • May 29, 2008
  • ‘Blooms’

    May 11, Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts
    • May 15, 2008
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • An uneven 'Macbeth'

    Michael Stewart Allen as Macbeth carries the play.
    • Sep 17, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.

Latest in Theater Reviews

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Belk bowling, b-ball

    Before Pearls breaks its brief silent treatment about Razorback basketball's latest bid to shake off listless irrelevance, we'll spend a word or two on the Belk Bowl, where the football team draws a Dec. 29 matchup with Virginia Tech in Charlotte.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Belk bowling, b-ball

    • Good analysis, something completely lacking from the daily newspaper's sports reporters/columnists.

    • on December 9, 2016
  • Re: Resurrection, reflection

    • http://hairtransplantncr.com/ hair transplant in delhi hair transplant ncr hair transplant cost hair transplant cost in…

    • on December 8, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation