It’s true, not many plays baldly confront the stigma of being fat—Eve Ensler’s “The Good Body,” in 2004, was more about empowering than revealing the dark side—but on closer inspection, “Fat Pig,” in a Midwest premiere at Profiles Theatre, isn’t really new ground for Neil LaBute. He’s traveled similar territory in a number of his past plays and at least one of his movies, which are focused squarely on our obsession with physical appearance, and/or our obsession with what other people think. “Fat Pig” concerns Tom (Darrell W. Cox), a blandly attractive office drone, who falls for Helen (Deborah Hearst), a pudgy librarian. Once Tom’s co-workers find out he’s dating a fat chick, the sneers and snickers hurl down like an avalanche. Does Tom have the guts to tell these people to fuck off, or does he succumb to peer pressure? This being LaBute, the answer is self-evident. Things are laid out in terms so black and white that there’s no room for the wishy-washy feelings that really invade relationships. (As played and as written, Tom’s romance with Helen is damn near perfect, except for her poundage. Talk about unrealistic.) What is troubling about the play is not its conclusion—which peters out in a duet of empty tears under the direction of Joe Jahraus—but the fact that it feels like a retread. The hot-button topic may be different, but it’s the same, old LaButian pattern—the naïve chump(s) in an uneasy friendship with the manipulative prick(s). At this point, you just want LaBute’s characters to grow up and find a new social circle. (Nina Metz)
This production is now closed.