I always find it interesting to fairly randomly select an unknown and unpredictable show out of the Fringe, and see where it takes me. It took me to F.A.T. written by and starring Pieter Jacobs, and directed by Jacques Bessenger, both familiar faces in Afrikaans television.
I mostly enjoyed the work although it’s not my usual taste or style. I feel that an arts festival requires me to broaden my artistic horizons though, so it was interesting to try something new that I didn’t ‘know’ would be good or bad. If you’ve ever had issues with perfection, and striving to be better to receive approval, and lost yourself while trying to achieve it, then you may enjoy F.A.T.
Jacobs explores the darker side of life and vanity, and a traumatic childhood resulting in a failed relationship with the character’s father. He does it with quirky, humorous commentary. The audience enjoyed his jokes and clever observations and applauded him appreciatively afterwards. It’s clear that a lot of time and energy was put into the show, and Jacobs performs the role of Terence with confidence and ease.
A few elements didn’t work well and perhaps with some consideration can develop the work into a much slicker and better-paced piece of theatre. The lighting states did little to enhance the effect of the character’s disintegration and realisation of the “vicious cycle” he becomes stuck in. He just moved to a new space and then another light came on. The rhythmic quality then becomes predictable and the show loses pace. Within each scene, too, a stasis is found and more or less maintained so that instead of going on a rollercoaster ride of emotional turmoil (that Terence says he’s experiencing), the work lands up flat and one-dimensional.
The work is the beginnings of a good show. The audience today apparently enjoyed it thoroughly and I’m sure more will too, but I need more structured theatrical crafting to happen for it to win me over. –Sarah Roberson