Review: Fister Act, The Turbine Theatre
3.0Overall Score

Trigger Warning: Sexual Trauma

Fister Act, the new drag musical by Fatt Butcher, is a one person show performing in its full vivacity at The Turbine Theatre located in the rather spectacular new development/gentrification centre of Battersea Power Station. A short piece of just thirty minutes, this show is filled with colour, chaos and crude humour.  

Fatt enters, enveloped by a vibrant red cloak and a pair of chunky black boots that are reminiscent of some classic outfits from ABBA. Think the Mamma Mia end credits with Donna and the Dynamos. A haze of smoke fills the room from an amusingly small dry ice machine that is held aloft by Fatt themselves. 

This is a musical performance about the act of fisting and the pleasures of this form of sexual gratification. However, it also candidly deals with the uncomfortable sides of sex: struggling to be as aroused as necessary, body insecurity and previous sexual trauma. Coupling these difficult themes with such a provocative play on words of a title is no mean feat. 

The strength of this piece is Fatt’s candour that is paired with an ability to be uplifting. In one minute we see the pain of Fatt’s insecurity but this is quickly coupled with an appearance from a drag Liza Minnelli. In a surreal landscape fuelled by poppers and pure adrenaline we enter a vortex of Fatt’s imagination that is interwoven with songs, inner voices and swirls akin only to that traumatic boat ride in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

This show is a work in progress and is not the crispest or most polished of pieces – it is its first outing (no pun intended). In the midst of the glamour there are also some glaring errors. Primarily regarding the spelling on Fatt’s backdrop. Resembling a 1980s karaoke booth, Fatt’s lyrics are displayed behind them on the screen – this is brilliant for a bit of audience participation; however, lots of the lyrics do not match with what Fatt is actually singing and this is slightly off putting. There are also a significant amount of typos in the lyrics, which give off an unwelcome amateurism to an otherwise engaging piece. These are simple changes but ones that would add to the slickness of the piece and give it an even glossier finish. 

Fatt is a brilliant entertainer and I beam with delight from start to finish (unfortunately hidden beneath my mask). For a bit of escapism and epitomisation of Pride, look no further than this piece.

Medium Font played at The Turbine Theatre until 12 June 2021. For more information see The Turbine Theatre’s website.