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"40 Pounds in 12 Weeks: A Love Story": Theater Review 

Wednesday, Mar 9 2011

"Break out the tissues, I got Daddy issues," Pidge Meade tells us in her new one-woman show, premiering at the Marsh. Sometimes funny, sometimes observant, but mostly self-indulgent and clichéd, 40 Pounds in 12 Weeks tells the story of Meade's battle with her overbearing father, a gymnastics coach who threatened to pull her college funding if she didn't drop 40 pounds over the course of a summer. Since that time, she has weighed as much as 200 pounds and as little as 130, almost constantly yo-yoing from one extreme to the other in the great American pastime of weight loss and gain. She complains about people who, long after she's lost weight, can talk only about the fact that she used to be heavy. But if she weren't guilty of exactly the same behavior, she wouldn't be doing an entire show about her former overweight self. Near the end of the play, Meade acknowledges her tendency toward preachiness and "narcissistic navel-gazing," which may qualify as self-awareness but doesn't make the play itself any less preachy or narcissistic. 40 Pounds is an exercise in pity rather than empathy, and it's a good example of why one-person shows leave so many people cold.

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Chris Jensen

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