Am safely returned from the Sussex coast and the Brighton Festival having completed my first professional run of The Biscuit Chronicles in a scenester-ridden, roller coaster baptism of festival fire. It was exciting although press night nearly had me giving up and locking myself in a cupboard with a bumper box of custard creams until everyone had forgotten about me. Save one or two happy exceptions, the audience was so stonily silent that I was concerned I had sent them all into boredom-induced comas. Happily, things started to look up after that with more people deciding it was ok or even appropriate (!) to laugh and we even had some sell out nights. We had an audience or at least 12 every night so it never felt empty so I’m happy. Surprised and so made up that so many friends came – thank you each and every one!
Reviews were a scary but thankfully painless part of it. I nearly weed a little bit when I found out I’d been given 5 stars by someone! Here are all the reviews I could find.. Let me know if you find any more!
The Biscuit Chronicles
Is it just one biscuit? Well that is the question. This one woman show is a refreshing look at body size in today’s society, and focuses on the ever tempting allure of the biscuit. Mixing facts, fiction, personal anecdotes and lashings of comedy that have the audience totally mesmerised or in fits of giggles, Amy Godfrey has crafted a witty, cheeky and original script that’s full of outrageous remarks, hilarious sketches and inspired songs. Not only is she up for poking fun at size, she also bares tummy and all in a celebration of the body that everyone can relate to. A performance that will have you embracing those curves, and reaching for the free biscuits at the end!
The Western Front, 2-5, 9-12 May, 8.30pm (9.45pm), £5.00 (£4.00), fpp58.
tw rating: 4/5
The Biscuit Chronicles is a theatre-based exploration of food, written and performed by the versatile Amy Godfrey. Free biscuits on chairs in a light-hearted one woman show that combines character comedy with wry observation.
Amy Godfrey writes and performs, Sian Stevenson directs this endearing one woman show. The sofa-endowed upstairs at the Western Front, provides the space for “fat-bottomed-and-feisty Amy Godfrey to talk us through her take on her physical self and the contradictory world of fatness and food. The Western Front pub’s upstairs bar is the performance space for an enjoyable hour. (Surely the seeds of a new, small theatre upstaires lie here, waiting to be watered by the creative urges of a restless Brightonian visionary?)
This is a show about “love, life and lunch in the fat lane.” Comparisons are here to be made with Doug Devaney’s foray into obesity, “Mein Gut” at the Fringe a few years back. Godfrey, like Devaney, draws parallels between size-ism and racism.
Also, Godrey isn’t a classically trained actor, but her performance style and skills are more than enough to keep her on top of the comedy and sometimes serious material, very much as David Bramwell – also not a trained actor – managed to pull off to award-winning effect with The Haunted Moustache at last year’s Fringe.
She’s charismatic, engaging and knows how to step fully into a range of funny and touching characters. Clearly well researched, the rich material is here to be enjoyed and savoured. The piece is lit by bedside and living room lamps. Why do we eat? “In order to not have to repeatedly say no,”
The monologue is clever, witty and well observed. And she makes some serious points. For example, fatness and fitness can sit well together We are invited to talk amongst ourselves as Amy changes costume, shamelessly and hilariously in front of us. Through a series of comic monologues we are taken on a journey through obesity and dieting. She has an easy style and an relaxed command of the stage.
We’re asked who has ever been on a diet. “Diets don’t work”. “We eat for all kinds of reasons”. Amy faces the issues and the audience as well as the material itself head on. It’s a very direct show. She leads us into discomfort, asking difficult questions. Sometimes the pace doesn’t serve the piece, and it slows a little too much. It’s a very good show, full of observation, bits of wisdom and plenty of comedy calories.
Good character acting, accessible writing, her obviously copious research only occasionally appears as a little forced into the drama; mostly it has been woven skilfully into the script.
Fat is cosy, fat says yes. Review says recommended, reviewer says yes.
Reviewed by PL 4th May 2010
by Nione Meakin
In a brave and thoughtful show, Amy Godfrey bares body and soul to celebrate being a big girl in a small world.
While the subject matter is nothing new, Godfrey is a compelling performer and offers a greater insight into the issue than the show’s title might suggest.
Struggling in and out of a series of dresses, she uses physical theatre and monologue to pose playful questions clearly close to her heart. Why, she asks, after a humiliating encounter with a nurse who brightly informs her she just needs to “eat less and exercise more”, is it assumed fat people have an IQ inversely proportional to the width of their thighs? Is it mere coincidence that in our capitalist society there are more and more people with weight problems? Why is anorexia considered to be the only genuine eating disorder?
Her stage craft is beautiful; the inner battle to slim outwardly demonstrated by fashioning herself a restrictive parcel tape corset which she then teeters awkwardly around in. When she snips it off and guiltily eats a biscuit, everyone sighs with relief.
Fragments of her personality come to life in a series of characters. The feminist frantically protesting her relief at not being sexually objectified, sighing over how lucky she is to know people are attracted to her personality – what an absolute bind it must be to have people constantly lusting after you – is especially poignant.
The honesty of laying oneself bare on stage, of urging people to embrace their love handles by example rather than trite cheerleading, makes this a truly uplifting hour.
Cute, clever and with a few crumbs, this one-woman show from the endearing Amy Godfrey sparkled with originality. A self-confessed biscuit addict, she charmingly took us through the dilemmas of dieting and being a bigger girl in our coveted, skinny society. As she changed clothes to adopt comical characters and flawless accents to present insights into the world of weight, she wryly shared perceptive and philosophical musings in between, on the ’social biccie’, doctors’ advice, and Unilever. Add an Amelie soundtrack, a clothes rail of potent props, and the best twinkliest smile ever, and this is a real ‘best of the fest’ contender.
Western Front, 10 May (until 12 May)
The Biscuit Chronicles
The Western Front | Brighton Festival Fringe
28 April 2010
Amy Godfrey does everything right. Everything except adhere to a low calorie eating plan maybe, and that is the theme of this devised one-woman show. After we all chorused hello in response to her greeting, she assured us that no further participation was required – to our collective relief.
She embodies all of her varied characters impeccably, imbuing each with an accent, stance and delivery all their own. Their only common trait is a BMI above the ‘ideal’. Godfrey joins the dots between these vignettes, each of which highlight or lampoon contemporary attitudes or ignorance around obesity and dieting, by addressing us as herself. She talks to us about the show, why it came about, her personal experiences of being fat, whilst changing into the costume of the next character from behind a rather inadequate clothes rail. As the performance progresses and the audience-actor relationship grows more intimate, Amy (or rather her onstage persona) becomes increasingly less self-conscious, until she is orating in the centre of the space clad in only her underwear and a self-deprecating defiance of social norms.
Though Godfrey makes some serious and valid points about disproportionate and alarmist attitudes to eating disorders, you are never more than a few seconds away from a laugh with The Biscuit Chronicles. My plus one and I chuckled, guffawed and sniggered from start to finish; albeit through cringes during the cling film routine. A few highlights have to include the opening voiceover as our as-yet unintroduced narrator debates what to buy for lunch (so arrive on time!), an unfaithful cover of Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’, the dieting revelation that ‘eating a kiwi and a cheese straw together will create antimatter’ and a reflection on the inefficacy of suicide by biscuit.
Apparently this is an unpolished work-in-progress, but I saw very little evidence of that; it was a consummate and highly entertaining performance upstairs in a slightly sweaty pub. With free biscuits. Don’t forget the biscuits.
Sophie A.R. London
So far so good : )