When you combine musicals and female body empowerment you get the fabulously hilarious show Fat Musicals. Maeve Marsden and Libby Wood along with pianist Benjamin Kiehne gave us a musical extravaganza with a clear message – move over skinny girls, fat girls can sing and take the lead in a musical.
Marsden and Wood have great chemistry and take you through almost every song you can find from the world’s most popular musicals with cheeky and at times side splitting hilarity. Starting with trying to find the show’s opening number they roll through songs from The Lion King, Oliver, Chicago and so many more. That was just in the first 10 minutes of the show! Except for Cats. Marsden insisted that they don’t sing songs from Cats.
Everything in musical theatre is bigger and it doesn’t get any bigger when Marsden and Wood take the stage and belt out the classics like Willkommen (from Cabaret), Food! Glorious Food! (Oliver), All That Jazz and He Had it Coming (Chicago). Too many songs to even mention. Some of the songs were sung with lyrics created by the ladies relating to the themes of female empowerment, fat shaming or sexual orientation.
While Fat Musicals has many funny moments there was a serious message to be learnt about “fat phobia” and the ways men shame or take power over women especially larger set ones. As the ladies tell us, they are “fighting the patriarchy through dance.”
There’s plenty of audience interaction, dissecting of every musical ever seen and heart stopping solos at the end by Marsden and Wood. Special mention to pianist Kiehne who whenever he has an opinion is told to “eat another cookie” but is an integral part of the show with his piano playing and comical relief.
We were told that musical theatre is about expressing your emotions and that the best musicals don’t tell you how they feel, they show you. We saw plenty of emotion. Big songs, big voices and big laughs! Oh, and yes Wood got her wish in the end. We did hear a song from Cats.