02/11/2006 - 16/11/2006
by Lucy Schmidt
directed by Simon Ferry
set design by John Hodgkins
A comedy of gigantic proportions, bought to you by the co-writer of Centrepoint Theatre classics Netballers and Sisters.
Sally, Clair, David, Marjorie and her slow but delightful granddaughter Moonbeam are all desperately trying to reach their goal weight by Christmas. However the “Nutriconics Weightloss Programme” led by the outrageously caustic Cynthia doesn’t seem to be having the desired effect.
This all changes, though, when recent heart attack survivor Ronald and his wife Rita turn up and convince them to take their weight loss into their own hands.
Join the gang as they pump iron, share their triumphs and defeats and grow and shrink before your very eyes.
Familiar to Centrepoint audiences:
Lucy Schmidt (Netballers, School Ball),
Stayci Taylor (Scared Scriptless)
Kate-Louise Elliott (Newbury Hall Dances, School Ball)
and Shirley Kelly (The Big OE)
New to Centrepoint:
The weigh of all flesh
Review by John C Ross 06th Nov 2006
Shedding fat can be fun; it doesn’t have to be all semi-starving and guilt trips. Such is the cheering dynamic of Lucy Schmidt’s new comedy; and with people suddenly worrying about an obesity epidemic, this is serendipitously topical. And a fairly light, feel-good comedy is well suited to the pre-Christmas slot (after which you’re allowed to pig out).
At the start there’s a bunch of miserable tubbies being tongue whipped by power-tripping Cynthia, the local employee of some thoroughly commercialised outfit, peddling a weight-watching regime and its own costly diet products. Just-retired Ron, previously a senior manager and suddenly zero, and paunching up, gets brought along by wife Rita; but instead of accepting victim status, he goes to the Internet and susses out his own, more human regime, which everyone converts to, including eventually even Cynthia. They all shed some flab, and are happier.
Given quite a simple storyline, the play all the same has enough incident, twists, character interest and side stories to keep moving right along. The dynamic shaping feels right, and there are also plenty of good laugh lines. Credit is due here to Simon Ferry’s capable directing.
With a cast of eight, every character is given plenty to do, yet perhaps the most challenging role is of the not-very-bright Moonbeam, played by Lucy Schmidt herself. Stayci Taylor makes much of Cynthia, toxic to start with and grumpy to the end. Kate-Louise Elliott equally revels in the role of Clair, changing from a podgy loser to a shapely winner.
Richard Knowles as David ably modulates the character’s overcoming of chronic shyness and diffidence.
Heather O’Carroll’s feisty Sally gets to relate to others as well as her cat. Patrick Wilson, Jane Waddell (his wife Rita) and Shirley Kelly (Marjorie, Moonbeam’s gran) have relatively straight roles yet make fine value of them.
John Hodgkins’ set design is quite a feature of the production, with two sets – the weight-watchers’ room, and Ron and Rita’s lounge – alternating on a revolve, and the wings serving for both of them.
This is a marvellously capable and enjoyable show that richly deserves to do well.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer
Muted weight loss comedy
Review by Richard Mays 06th Nov 2006
Fat can be fun, if you don’t happen to be paunchy, bulgy or flabby yourself. Just in time for the pre-Christmas binge, Weighing In takes a light-hearted and lightweight approach to the issue of excess calorific (dis)content.
Perched somewhat precariously between slapstick, panto, farce, sit-com and romantic comedy, the play recognises that desperate people are inclined to poor judgement. Having forked out heaps for the shonky Nutriconics weight loss programme run by the sadistic Cynthia, an oddball bunch of fatties despair at ever achieving their targets. All, that is, except for Moonbeam the oblivious and simpleminded girl whose monthly weight gains happily manage to exceed the capacity of the scales.
Former advertising exec Ron, recovering from a heart attack, recognises a control freak when he meets one, and decides to give Cynthia a miss. With dedication bordering on the obsessive and courtesy of Google, he formulates his own programme with spectacular results, winning the others over – even Rita, his wife.
On John Hodgkins’s handsomely designed revolving set, playwright Lucy Schmidt as Moonbeam, Patrick Wilson as Ron, and Jane Waddell’s Rita set the pace with well composed characterisations. Others in this "well-sized" cast tend to tip into caricature.
While a couple of the performers start out with body padding that is too apparent, the play too is all a bit obvious. In places it’s wordy, in others overly contrived, and despite its good-humoured comeuppance and redemption, still needs to find its rhythm. Portions of the audience identified with and reacted enthusiastically to several of its situations, but overall the laughs are sporadic, and Weighing In is a fairly restrained theatrical experience.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer