Fat Jewels – A multi-faceted dazzler

★★★★★Fat Jewels – A multi-faceted dazzler 

Danny, one of the two characters in Joseph Skelton’s play Fat Jewels, has an obsession with his home being ‘toasty’ and is incessantly fiddling with the temperature control of the heater. There was no need last night at The Hope Theatre as the room must have been over 30 degrees and, to say the least, the genuinely valiant actors – and audience – suffered for their art. Was it worth all the suffering? You bet your battered frozen chicken!

Set in ‘a South Yorkshire council estate. Pat’s having strange dreams. He can’t shake them. He’s gone round to Danny’s for a chat and some healthy advice. Lonely and dangerous, Danny insists that what Pat needs is a therapy programme of Danny’s own making, involving cricket bats and trips to the zoo…’  That is the given synopsis, but Raving Mask’s production of Fat Jewels is much more than this and only scratches the surface of a very intricate plot that twists and turns, is menacingly dazzling and compelling in its total brilliance. Joseph Skelton has sincerely woven a frightening, irresistible piece of theatre.

Hugh Train as Pat and Robert Walters as Danny
 Robert Walters as Danny and Hugh Train as Pat gave performances that must be experienced to be believed as ‘two lonely, dispossessed men: one separated from his wife and child; the other living at home with his mother and struggling to control his violent thoughts’. Chilling, deeply nerve-racking and far deeper and worrying than the simple suggestion of being ‘an exploration of masculinity’. Fat Jewels is beyond dark, worryingly funny and utterly bizarre - an exploration of multi-level abuse, confused sexuality and offensive, yet entirely fascinating power play.

Director Luke Davies has drawn unique, intricate, intimidating, tour de force (literally feat of strength) performances from Walters and Train. Fat Jewels is a play that should be seen at all costs – however toasty the room! Theatrical experiences and accomplishments like this don’t come along every day.

 Production photographs by Laura Harling

Fat Jewels plays at The Hope Theatre until 21 July