Plus size actresses are limited on the parts they will be offered. One of the parts they’re guaranteed to play is Tracy Turnblad from Hairspray. Although the industry has made large steps in diverse casting, there is still a massive bias against fat actors which means they miss out on the parts they want to play. Abby Rose Morris is one of them.

Morris is a plus size performer that created the podcast More Than Tracy Turnblad, she’s amassed millions of views on Tik Tok with her honest content highlighting the lack of plus size representation in the industry. Now she’s brought her cabaret to the UK for the first time, where it’s spending two weeks at the Edinburgh Fringe – and you can also watch it online.

More Than Tracy Turnblad begins with Morris bursting onstage in Tracy Turnblad’s signature wig, tartan skirt and white shirt to sing ‘Good Morning Baltimore’. This turns into a little medley of songs including ‘Kindergarten Boyfriend’ from Heathers, ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls’ from The Little Mermaid and ‘All About That Bass’. Morris then explains that it’s 3 minutes into the show and you’ve just heard her perform in every role that people have told her she is right for. See the options are limited for fat actors in the industry, Morris explains that she’s offered the parts of the tragic wallflower, nurturing mum, sloppy, funny sidekick and the greedy power-hungry villain.

Morris speaks about the lack of representation in the entertainment industry, and how the fat character is usually played by a slim actress in a fat suit – taking away a part for a plus sized performer. She brings up the obvious culprits such as Bridget Jones, who was ‘fat’ but actually weighed less than 10 stone, and Monica from Friends, who was basically referred to as unlovable when she was fat.

Morris tries to set the record straight about the word ‘fat’, and how it’s not an insult, that’s just inherent fatphobia, it’s simply a factual description. She explains how the BMI system is flawed and racist and how fat people can be healthy. She makes so many incredibly important points throughout this show, and I was blown away by how honest she is, and she’s bang on.

Throughout this hour-long performance Morris performs songs with a pianist accompaniment, she has an incredibly good voice and is an absolute powerhouse when performing Idina Menzel’s numbers. There’s some audience involvement as Morris gets three people up on the stage to read some text for her. During this Morris is at the side performing some over-dramatic actions which appeared slightly odd and distracted me from what they were saying. Morris is intense in her delivery at times, highlighting the importance of the topic and how much this means to her.

More Than Tracy Turnblad highlights many important issues within the theatre and entertainment industries. It shows we need more plus size representation, and more roles for fat actresses on main stages. We need the very talented Morris as Elphaba now please, and this incredibly important show needs to be seen, as this is a topic that should be discussed.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclaimer: I watched the show online (On Demand).

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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