In the opening moments of Fatty Fatty No Friends, we hear a band that evokes Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The music (by Christian De Gré) has a creepy-carnival vibe, and the imagery is pure Halloween: stilt-walking skeletons and an army of stylish teens with black rings around their eyes. Obese Tommy (Jason Sofge) waddles straight into this horror show, assailed by taunting, abusive classmates and menaced by skeletons. Our chubby hero awakes, goes to school and is befriended for the first time in his life—until the popular mean girl (Mia Thomas) intervenes. Alone in the bathroom, Tommy realizes that his bullies aren’t nasty on the inside but actually…delicious. So he decides to take gruesome action. (Flesh hangs off characters’ bodies in the form of red sashes.) The inventive set is drawn on reversible sheets held up by performers, and the ensemble is perfectly despicable. But the real discovery is Sofge, whose vulnerability makes Tommy’s journey authentic rather than just endearing. (He shines in an amusing tune about sweatpants: “They don’t tear, they don’t split / They remind me that there’s a place I fit.”) De Gré, lyricist Joseph Reese Anderson and book writer Serrana Gay have created a surprisingly touching piece that, whether it makes you cackle or sniffle, ought to have a future life. With childhood obesity on the rise, this serotonin-boosting musical ought to be performed in schools throughout the land.—Sarah Andrew
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