Thank the lord for HOME’s annual jamboree, the PUSH festival. PUSH 2019 celebrates the region’s creative talents from screenings to exhibitions – they have even commissioned brand new pieces for the festival. For me, however, it is a welcome distraction to the miserable, moribund month that January often ends up becoming, providing this writer with a little bit of colour and sunshine. Fat Girl Singing is exactly the kind of antidote one needs to get over the month before with a trip to see an act that showcases exactly what PUSH 2019 is all about, a sassy talented individual that looks like us, talks like us, with razor sharp wit and a bit of a song and dance!
Fat Girl Singing is actually Emma Geraghty, a cornucopia of collective talents all in the form of one person. A Manchester based theatre maker, director, musician, and writer no less, which are quite a few strings to a bow. Given that this is a one woman show, having all those talents probably comes in handy, especially if you’re gonna sing and act and bare your soul. Her show also shows off her tea making skills and that sort of sums up the charming self deprecating show that is Fat Girl Singing.
FSG for short is a raw, personal, self biographical introspection of Emma’s journey and her issues with her weight and to an extent her sexual shenanigans. She’s not one to shy away from confronting stereotypes, as we meet her dressed in dungarees (lovely dungarees it has to be said) and almost immediately from the off she’s launching into a witty monologue about how people avoid calling fat people – fat. Yes, it’s that kind of show.
FSG is also about the singing and Emma with her guitar and a mic under a solitary spotlight is able to convey the feelings and emotions that gives her personal storytelling another dimension. It’s very folksy at times and her acerbic lyrics has the capacity to draw you in to her world.
Oh and FSG is also about the music. In fact it’s brilliantly about the the relationship you can have with music and Emma tells this is such a delightful way. As she regales the audience of specific points in her life, the detail maybe on the personal experiences she’s had, but she’s mindful to interweave these raw personal outpourings by connecting them with music she listened to, the walkman or the ipods she’s had or the headphones she’d wear with tracks playing in the background to subtly emphasize this love of music.
Yet for all its emotional baggage on the conveyor belt of curiosity there were times when it was perhaps a tad too clever for its own making. The whole drinking beverages with the audiences for example seems like it should be a hit but I thought detracted from the subject of her revelations in those moments.
Sure, it’s a bit rough around the edges, her journey seems to be incomplete but I defy anyone not to be completely transfixed with FSG and in particular Emma Geraghty.
Verdict: An emotional and raw solo performance from one of the region’s talented performers and musicians. Often funny, sometimes melancholic, always engaging.