Fat Camp: Review Roundup

Fat Camp

Carly Jibson and Molly Hager in Fat Camp

Reviews for the new Off-Broadway musical Fat Camp, originally presented at the 2009 NYMF, were mixed but generally favorable. Below is a sampling. For the record, the creative team is Randy Blair (book and lyrics), Tim Drucker (book), Matthew roi Berger (music), Casey Hushion (direction), Kelly Devine (choreography), Beowulf Boritt (sets), David Woolard (costumes), Jason Lyons (lights), and Matt Kraus (sound). The cast includes Janet Dickinson (Sandy), Daniel Everidge (Robert), Molly Hager (Taylor), Carly Jibson (Daphne), Cale Krise (Anshel), Marcus Neville (Mike), Larry Owens (Darnell), Tracy Weller (Ashley), Kate Weber (Britta), and Jared Zirill (Brent).

Brian Scott Lipton (Theater Mania): The committed work of a troupe of truly talented young actors brings much needed heft to Fat Camp, an always amiable, periodically sparkling new musical. … Not a whole lot actually happens over two hours – romances are forged, lessons are learned, candy is eaten – as the cast digs in with gusto to the rock-infused score by Blair and composer Matthew roi Berger and execute Kelly Devine’s athletic-inspired choreography with consummate skill. … Everidge brings the necessary warmth and vulnerability to the role of Robert, while Hager is even better, nailing every moment and creating a complex characterization. Both actors have strong yet supple voices that come together nicely on duets. … Still and all, the show is completely stolen by the delicious Jibson … a truly gifted physical comedian and powerhouse vocalist.

Michael Musto (Village Voice): Fat Camp is a silly, exuberant musical that comes at you like an ice cream truck and doesn’t slow down. The situations in the show could be from any campy camp comedy – the jealousies, romances, one-upmanships, self-image problems, and triumphs. But the characters happen to be plus sized and are trying to be “losers” ­– some way more than others – as Camp Overton becomes a place where you can shed some inhibitions along with a pound or two, while singing and dancing up a storm. …. The show is lively and often clever … and the cast consists of of big-lunged belters who can also deliver laughs.

Matthew Murray (Talkin’ Broadway): Fat Camp is big fun … a devilishly tuneful and warmly entertaining evening that fills you up but doesn’t pack on the pounds. If it grows a bit svelte on ingenuity after intermission, it’s nonetheless an energetic, eclectic corrective for what was, all things considered, a lackluster spring for tuners on Broadway. … A few problems remain, mostly in the second act. …  When Fat Camp is at the top of its game, however, it’s a delight – and even something of a thoughtful one. Rare indeed is a musical about staying true to your own beliefs and maintaining a positive self-image that is enacted by performers who actually look like they possess the confidence of individuality they’re trying to inspire in others.

Keith Staskiewicz (Entertainment Weekly): There’s The plot here is secondary to Fat Camp’s cast of dedicated performers, who throw themselves into their roles with enough fervor to make up for the limited choreography and a few mumbled lyrics. Carly Jibson is hilarious as Daphne, a bell-shaped Southern belle whose only personal goal at camp is to have as much sex as possible. Writers Randy Blair and Tim Drucker (working with composer Matthew roi Berger) offer up quite a few good punchlines that don’t rely on easy fat jokes. … Like a sugar high, the effect of Fat Camp starts wearing off once you leave the theater. For a show about so much corpulence, it feels a bit slight.

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