Fat Kids Are Harder to Kidnap on Zoom

by Melissa Sim, Jeremy Au Yong and the cast
How Drama

The Fat Kids are back! This rambunctious ensemble show is the latest iteration in a long-running interactive sketch series by youth theatre company How Drama. The concept is simple: the cast perform a series of 15 short plays within a fixed time of 30 minutes and the audience decides the order in which the plays are performed.

In this edition, the performance goes fully digital on Zoom and all the plays are somewhat influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing with life in lockdown and related issues. The production strives to build in an element of interaction by asking audience members to yell out the number of the play they would like to see performed next. 

Kudos to director Melissa Sim and the creative team for ensuring a seamless viewing experience with crisp audio and visuals. The gregarious and talented cast (Ross Nasir, Pavan Singh, Nicholas Bloodworth, Victoria Chen and Vester Ng) also make great use of Zoom backgrounds and their individual homes as playing spaces, giving us a nice bit of variety with scenes cleverly performed in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

Fat Kids clearly knows its mostly millennial and Gen Z audience and taps on political themes and the social aspects of lockdown life with glee. The plays (written by Sim, Jeremy Au Yong and the cast) are fun, frothy and largely humorous. Covid Cooking is a naughty spoof of how the lockdown has turned too many people into overnight chef-influencers, Work Call features an all-too-relatable office video call where someone forgets to mute his line and Meet the Press interrogates governmental incompetence in dealing with Covid-19 policies.

It's all great fun but if there was something I missed, it was the sense of time pressure and sheer madness of watching the actors hurtle from one play to the next. The filler sequences (featuring a slick trailer) are adequate enough but it would have been so much more thrilling to see the actors rapidly transition from one character or space to another and celebrate the 'liveness' of the event. Perhaps something they could consider for future online iterations of the show.

I discuss this production in more detail in the Arts Equator theatre podcast, together with playwright, poet and editor Nabilah Said and theatre educator Matthew Lyon.

The Crystalwords score: 3/5


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