Spoiler: This essentially gives away the ending (though most people probably have a better than 50% chance of guessing it anyway).
Although it had its laughs, Fat Pig was ultimately quite a depressing story. Essentially, Tom throws away what could have been the best relationship of his life, because he is too emotionally stunted to handle it. Initially, it seems that he is drawn to Helen for her personality, in spite of her size; but I think the bedroom scene is designed to show that he has come to love her body as well. So the problem is not that he can’t deal with the fact that she is overweight: it is that he can’t handle what he thinks other people will be thinking about her, and thus about him. His way of ending the relationship with Jeannie shows that his method of dealing with conflict and difficult situations is to just ignore them, and hope they go away; and he simply doesn’t realise how much pain this is causing Jeannie. It seems that he is stuck at about age 15, and you can kind of feel sorry for him – but nowhere near as sorry as for Helen, whose final scene (where she offers to lose weight, if that’s what he wants) is just heartbreaking.
I though Carter was an interesting counterpoint to Tom. He is certainly selfish, and has a great capacity for cruelty (specifically the bit where he runs off lots of pictures of Helen and scatters them around the office – though actually, this was one scene I couldn’t quite believe in. I just don’t see it happening, at least in any of the offices I’ve worked in. Maybe I’ve just been lucky!) But at the same time he seems a lot more self-aware, and thus basically more mature, than Tom. This doesn’t necessarily make him a nice person, and nor does it mean that things will necessarily work out with him and Jeannie. But I think if he does dump her, it will be a much cleaner break, and won’t mess her up as much as Tom did. Of course, if that did happen, he wouldn’t feel the same kind of guilt that Tom does – but then, it’s arguable that Tom feels bad, not because he has hurt Jeannie, but because she keeps shoving her pain in his face. If he didn’t have to see it, then he’d probably be able to convince himself that there wasn’t a problem.
I thought all the performances were good. I was initially taken aback that all the actors used American accents, but I quickly got used to it. They explained in the Q&A afterwards that this was because some of the lines really needed the American intonation, and wouldn’t have worked as well in Australian accents. I guess I can kind of see this, though I’m not quite 100% convinced it was necessary.
I found the set design a little odd, in the way that some of the props were used interchangeably between home, office and other environments. In particular, I was a bit disconcerted when the mattress was used in the office scene. But this wasn’t a major problem.
And I was really pleased that, unlike The Lost Echo and other plays we’ve seen recently, this was a n ice, straightforward, beginning-middle-end production, with no talking to the audience, no symbolic characters, and nothing particularly cutting-edge or experimental about it.