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Homobesity: How My Fat Gay Body Made Me

I know that some of the readers of my reviews are not gay, so just for those, let me give you a quick rundown of the rules in place to ensure you are accepted as a gay man. It’s pretty basic really. You just need to be young, have a great body – either stick thin or covered in muscles – and have a luscious head of hair. Of course, I’m talking about a stereotype here, but it is one that is constantly reinforced not only in the LGBT+ world but also in the MSM on the odd occasion it dips its toes into gayness – think of the pictures they show of Pride parades, and you get what I mean. However, there are many of us that don’t tick these boxes and Connor O’Donoghue’s one-man show Homobesity which I saw at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre takes us into their world.

Homobesity. Photographer Sarah Raines.
Homobesity. Photographer Sarah Raines.

Sitting on a bar stool on an empty stage, Connor relates his life as individual chapter-like stories. From his early days as a closeted and innocent gay boy living in a strict Catholic family in Cork, through to his move to London where he indulged in “The Scene” with the true passion of someone totally free for the first time in their life. Being a, let’s be honest, fat old queen myself, there was so much about Connor’s life and stories that mirrored my own. For example, sitting on a bus knowing nobody will want to sit next to you, something I see and feel every time I take a Routemaster anywhere. Where we do diverge is with the first story he told as, without giving anything away, I lost mine at age 3 months. There was also a wonderful poem about thin privilege that really spoke to me and left me feeling quite emotional at the end of it.

However, whether you are fat or thin, gay, straight, or somewhere else on the rainbow alphabet, Connor speaks to everyone. Aside from being a wonderful storyteller, his examination of his own insecurities and issues gives the audience the opportunity to think about themselves and the things that bug them about their own bodies and lives. Now, I don’t want to give the impression that Homobesity is a negative and depressing show. In fact, it’s anything but, and there is much humour in Connor’s telling of his life. From his innocence – believing kissing someone meant he was no longer a virgin – to the Egyptian offering to take a sleeping bag to a London park, Connor has had an interesting and adventurous life that, I would suggest, has given him as many highs as lows, and he is happy to share with an audience that sits mesmerised, drinking in every word.

Homobesity is ultimately a wonderful tale of a normal man bravely sharing his story with strangers. Maybe it’s Connor’s way of ridding himself of his demons. Maybe it’s just a realisation he had a story to tell. Whatever the reasons behind the show, it really is something worth seeing.

5 Star Rating

Review by Terry Eastham

HOMOBESITY: How my fat gay body made me
Written and directed by Connor O’Donoghue
10th to 14th January 2023
At Lion and Unicorn Theatre (above the Lion and Unicorn pub),
42-44 Gaisford Street, Kentish Town, London NW5 2ED

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