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Fat Men in Skirts 

A morbidly twisted but engrossing play about a mother and son stranded after a plane crash

Wednesday, May 29 2002
Over the last few years, Nicky Silver's plays have been popping up all over the city -- and it's no mystery why: Although Silver hails from the East Coast, his writing seems to jell with the San Francisco climate. It's clever in an underhanded way, makes a point without being didactic, pulls no punches when it comes to crassness, and is so far to the left that it's almost to the right. Fat Men in Skirts is no exception, and Flux Theatre's current production of it is a gem. One of Silver's earlier plays (first produced in 1988), Fat Men finds an exasperated Phyllis and her stuttering 11-year-old son, Bishop, stranded on the beach after their plane crashes en route to Italy -- where Howard (Phyllis' unfaithful, neglectful husband) is directing a film. What feels at first like a demented Gilligan's Island episode infused with a dash of Silence of the Lambs (yes, they do start eating people) slowly morphs into an absurd tale of blatant infidelity and hard-core incest (Survivor can't touch this). The play is morbidly twisted but completely engrossing, and under Marc Adelman's excellent direction it never misses a beat. Brett Holland is astonishing as the rapidly maturing Bishop, who starts off as a pre-pubescent weenie but quickly develops into a carnage-eating, psychotic primate; Cheriece White also displays tremendous talent as his distraught, delusional, shoe-obsessed mother. In fact, the acting is supreme all around, and the set designer -- Cat Stevans -- does a wonderful job creating a variety of locales in a limited space. Fat Men is a phat treat. And in case you were wondering, the title of the play has little in common with its content, except that both invoke images as comical as they are disturbing.

About The Author

Karen Macklin


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