REVIEW: Fat Girls in Bike Shorts @ Fringe

Words by: Samuel Herriman

Fat Girls in Bike Shorts offers exactly what it says on the cover. The girls in question, Kellee Aberg and Rosie Sitorus, took the audience on an intimate, confronting, and hilarious journey as they explored body image and fat shaming. All while wearing bike shorts.

The bike shorts are explained via the opening number, an original song that documents the trials of ‘the chafing season’ – otherwise known as Summer. The song is candid and funny and works well in setting the tone for the rest of the show. Aberg and Sitorus have deduced that the best way to minimise chafing is by wearing bike shorts, hence their decision to perform the energetic show in the chafe-free comfort of bike shorts.

The girls share personal anecdotes about what it’s like growing up as a fat child, as well as living today with constant judgement, condescension, flat-out insults and unwarranted advice. Some of these stories are genuinely heartbreaking and at times distressing, but the girls are quick to put everyone at ease, with a well-timed joke or expert physical comedy. This was a show about being proud of who you are.

From excessive eating, the tribulations of being a bridesmaid, a discussion on the various different ‘body types’ and the intricacies of sexual positions, Fat Girls doesn’t shy away from exposing every roll and thigh slap of a fat shaming society. It would also be inaccurate to say the whole show was simply concerned with one subject, because while fat shaming and body image forms the basis of all the segments of the show, the girls use it to springboard onto other subjects or one-line barbs.

Although it is constantly entertaining, the show can became overly didactic at times, and the girls are most effective when they demonstrate their message through song or story rather than overt explanation.

Despite it’s relatively brief running time (the show clocked in at around 40 minutes), Fat Girls in Bike Shorts was insightful and incisive, and – most importantly – had the packed out theatre in hysterics from start to finish.