Bursting onto stage with enthusiasm and an infectious personality, Abby Rose Morris has created a show adaptation of her popular podcast with the same name, More Than Tracy Turnblad, which firmly tackles the judgement and misconceptions surrounding fat people, particularly with comment on the arts industry.
Using songs such as 'Poor Unfortunate Souls' and 'All About That Bass', Abby illustrates the confined attitudes and opportunities given towards those who are overweight, and the limitations placed that results in only a small slice of choice: after the medley, she states "We are now three minutes into the show, and you've just heard me perform every role anyone's ever told me I'm right for". The show is littered with punching lines like these that fuel enragement in the audience, as they come to understand the stereotypes and perceptions that fat people face at every turn.
With dreams of becoming Elphaba, Abby speaks of the five different roles a plus size actor are given: the tragic wallflower; the nurturing mum; the sloppy, funny sidekick; the greedy, power hungry villain or Tracy Turnblad. Looking into the general meaning behind the word 'fat', audiences must address their own preconceptions, and curiosities regarding the association to being beautiful, when later on, the paradox is explored in more depth.
A little audience participation bring some discriminative job adverts, to demonstrate the shocking descriptions used, and the depressing reality that Abby has grown accustomed to since childhood. Plus size fashion also gets an appropriate mention, and the way her identity has shifted because of this, and stolen her youth. The way that women are dehumanised and compartmentalised to fit into categories based on how they provide for men is also a fascinating insight. Additionally, it's impossible not to discuss the impact of pop culture and social media; the fat jokes that lead to characters being dubbed as a comedic trope, and the diets and body standards that are unfathomable in reality.
Fighting back with anger at the fatphobia out there, and singing 'So What?' to emphasise this, Abby exudes clarity and body positivity, and the video version just doesn't do her words justice. With a fitting ending to the piece, her passion through both seriousness and laughs, oozes importance, and the representation that is needed to make everyone feel as if they have a place in both the arts industry, and the world.
My interview with Abby further discussing the show can be found here: