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Tedious tale of peer pressure

PUBLISHED: 15:35 06 June 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 24 August 2010

Tom (Robert Webb) and Helen (Ella Smith)

Tom (Robert Webb) and Helen (Ella Smith)

by Will Davies For a play that boasts such a formidable cast, Fat Pig, at the Trafalgar Studios, was a bitter disappointment. Put Kris Marshall (of My Family/Love Actually), Robert Webb (Peep Show), Joanna Page (Gavin and Stacey) and Ella

Jeannie (Joanna Page) and Carter (Kris Marshall)

by Will Davies

For a play that boasts such a formidable cast, Fat Pig, at the Trafalgar Studios, was a bitter disappointment.

Put Kris Marshall (of My Family/Love Actually), Robert Webb (Peep Show), Joanna Page (Gavin and Stacey) and Ella Smith (from ITV's Sold) on the stage and you would think it would prove a rip-roaring success.

Wrong.

Cashing in on four famous faces is obviously the thinking behind the production, and although it might swell takings at the box office, it hasn't worked.

The whole premise to the story is weak, and ultimately flawed.

When Tom (played by Webb) first meets Helen (Ella Smith) there is an instant connection.

Helen is portrayed as a bright, funny, sexy young woman who also happens to be 'plus-sized, and then some' - according to the programme blurb.

The relationship blossoms, and it's not long before the insults start to fly from Tom's office buddies - notably Carter - played by the hugely talented Kris Marshall, whose comic timing, regardless of having all the best lines, saved the play from mediocrity and utter boredom.

The most incredibly abusive comments fly from the lips of Tom's one-time flame and colleague, Jeannie (Joanna Page).

Irrespective of Page's dubious American accent (the whole play is set in America, so all four British actors attempt accents with varying success - Robert Webb's is painfully embarrassing) her character's treatment of Tom for dating a 'fat sow' is unrealistically harsh.

Bullying in the workplace is a common dilemma, but the extent to which Tom's colleagues attempt to decimate his relationship is so ruthless it verges on fanciful, and renders the plot a farce.

Yet the final scene, which sees Tom yield to peer pressure and his own shallowness and end the relationship, is not funny (as you would expect from the initial impression of the plot and a cast comprising television's hottest young comedians).

It ends with Helen looking stunned and Tom crying his eyes out.

I too was near to tears, having endured nearly two hours of Webb's excruciatingly poor attempt at an American accent.

Fat Pig runs until September 6 at the Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY.

Tickets from £25-£45. Box Office: 0870 060 6632 or online at www.theambassadors.com/trafalgarstudios.

Rating 2/5


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