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The Fat Girl Gets a Haircut and Other Stories

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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A boy and girl dance around each other, blindfolded, without vision but able to eventually find and discover each other in the darkness. It could be a Rob Ryan artwork. A Muslim child dances an ungainly duo with a pig as he expresses the confusion between his love for bacon and his family's religious beliefs. Another boy, bullied by his peers, is covered with ketchup from a dozen Heinz bottles, unable to stand, but his inner self survives the attack as the doll figurine attached to his stomach floats away on a paper boat. Meanwhile, a boy dressed in a paper clown outfit is swathed in water to represent all the tears he sheds for the world as it crashes on regardless.

The Fat Girl Gets a Haircut and Other Stories is a devised live art piece, the product of two years of work from a group of 12-15 year olds selected by the Roundhouse in Camden to work with performance artist Mark Storor. Portraying the inner thoughts of this motley bunch of teenagers, stories are conveyed in a multi-disciplinary format, with everything from shadow acting to animation (from Babis Alexiadis) mixed into the fray, supported by beautiful music from Jules Maxwell.

Not tremendously hard-hitting, the show could go much further, deeper and darker into the tales of teenage woe, and there's a sense of detachment that the piece never quite supersedes, leaving you wanting more from each participant. There's also a fair amount of sloppy projection from the cast, which mars some of the spoken elements of the show, making it difficult to hear what they're trying to say.

Although it's impossible to know exactly who to credit for which roles due to a lack of clarification in the programme, Kadeem Deane, as the aforementioned pig, shows great potential with grace and style evident in every appearance he makes. There are some stunning visual moments, and the group's chemistry is clear to see throughout.

- Miriam Zendle


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