Scottee's Fat Blokes takes on prim prejudice
- Gareth K Vile
- 6 March 2019
Performance artist discusses his latest work
'I created Fat Blokes 'cause I'm confused, angry and mouthy!' says Scottee, a performer who crosses the boundaries between wild performance art, heartfelt and funny social commentary.
Fat Blokes shares the stories of five men: alternating between humour and a sharp questioning of the audience's need to laugh at the cast, it articulates their experiences of the hostility of a world obsessed with body size. Encouraging a vision of the body that is beautiful, compassionate and rebellious, Scottee's attitude is simultaneously revolutionary and inclusive.
'I exist in a world in which the seat next to me on train, planes and buses is always left free.' he continues. 'Folk take pictures of me when they think I'm not looking, they nudge their friends, point and laugh. I'm berated publically by those surrounded by their friends or in vans, they shout insults at me for being fat and taking up too much room. When I go to the doctor with eczema I leave with gastric surgery leaflets in my hand. The telly dedicates its prime time programming to wanting to fix me yet I don't feel broken, or that I deserve the violence or abuse.'
Scottee's forthright attitude and determination to express his own experience without compromise has been honed over the past decade through a spectrum of performances that combine an aesthetic fearlessness and a lively sense of humour. Having ruptured the simplistic styles of cabaret through his vaudeville variety shows at the Fringe and his long association with London nightclub provocateurs Ducky, Fat Blokes is a distinctive Scottee take on body fascism, created in collaboration with choreographer Lea Anderson, another Ducky regular, and sits between dance and personal storytelling: a 'fatopia,' as Scottee puts it.
Like his other productions, Fat Blokes is personal and political, fuelled by outrage at body-shaming - one of the cast shares their experience of violence, and they all explore the prejudice they experience - but asking for compassion and understanding that isn't merely patronising support or the assumption that they want to change. And like Scottee himself, it is witty, charming, honest and, as he concludes, 'mouthy, loud, aggressive and doesn't expect you to like it.'
Traverse, Edinburgh, 15–16 March.