Described as a show about flab, double chins, and getting your kit off in public, the production attempts to uncover why fat men are never portrayed as sexy but always as funny, always the ‘before’ but never the ‘after’ shot.
I caught up with Sam Buttery, one of the cast of Fat Blokes, for a behind-the-scenes look at the show:
What was the process that led you to joining the cast for Fat Blokes?
I’d been involved in a discussion with Scottee at The Southbank Centre, as part of the Being A Man festival, and had really enjoyed discussing my identity and what it means to be a man — a man who is queer and fat. So, when Scottee forwarded me the link to the casting call, I thought it was a no-brainer — I wanted to be part of it.
Is ‘fat bloke’ a description that you embrace for yourself?
Not at all. As a femme queer person, I’ve always felt uneasy with the hyper-masculinity which — for me — the term ‘bloke’ encompasses. I’ve also always struggled with my weight, so identifying so boldly with it — through the show’s title and the work — hasn’t been an easy journey. It has however, been a complex and rewarding one, and allowed me to face my identity and understand what it means to be a man who is a fat bloke.
Working with all the other fat blokes in the show has taught me how you can be fat, and sexy, and vibrant, and amazing.
Have you always been a dancer?
In my mind I have always been a dancer, but in my mind I always thought I might be Ethel Merman reincarnate, so my mind isn’t too reliable. I do have a background in theatre and performance, and through that I’ve had to dance, but I wouldn’t describe myself as a dancer.
You’ll be getting your kit off on stage. Would you describe yourself as an exhibitionist?
I suppose, in a way, I am. I’ve enjoyed taking my kit off in clubs — I always felt like that was some sort of political statement about alternative body images in society, however in reality it was just me dicking about.
How complicated is the choreography that Lea Anderson has created for you? Are we talking NSYNC or Westlife?
Unfortunately there are no moments where we rise from high stools, so it’s a little far from Westlife, sadly. The choreography is specific and intricate, and is there to tell a story in a layered way that presents many different narratives simultaneously. The intricacy has been complicated, but Lea is absolutely brilliant, and she has cool hair.
What do you hope that people feel when watching Fat Blokes?
In making the show, Scottee has encouraged honesty and authenticity so that the work is a truthful exploration of being fat and a man. I hope the audience can allow themselves to engage with the truthfulness we offer.