The Fringe is nearing its close, but do you have space for more? Chris Bush’s bittersweet Hungry is serving up a Fringe hit. Proving that everything – from activated charcoal flatbread to cheesy Wotsits – is political, Hungry is almost too much to swallow.
The kind of show you want to see over and over again
Chris Bush’s script tells the story of waitress Bex (Melissa Lowe) and chef Lori (Eleanor Sutton). It’s a simple love story. Girl meets girl over the shiny worktops of a professional kitchen, court each other with pain de campagne and Pot Noodles, but soon enough class divisions are found out and the two are left fighting over dietary snobbery.
But it’s more than that. Bush’s writing packs medical racism, queer acceptance, and the ethics of nutrition into 70-minutes. It’s a lot, and their intersection is the lived experience of many, but – and perhaps I’m a picky-eater – I couldn’t help but feel that some of these elements could have been more digested.
As metal worktops on wheels roll and crash around the stage, Katie Posner’s production is nothing short of astounding. This is the first show at the Fringe – actually, ever – that I’ve seen food cooked on-stage. Gimmicky? Maybe, but what better way to hammer home the message of Hungry? Food is universal: we all smell and eat it. We all have our skin in the game, all implicated in its ethics and politics.
Lowe and Sutton’s delivery is flawless. There are so many great lines; “I thought I was being romantic but I’m just drunk and gay” and “it’s only flavour” were two of my favourites. Sometimes, the repetitious nature of the arguments means they hit a wall with their exasperation. That said, this is their two-hand tour de force, with immense energy and a beautifully tactful exploration of a queer relationship that rings so true to so many. And props to them for pulling off a sex scene on wheely tables.
Hungry deserved its standing ovation. It’s the kind of show you want to see over and over again, and with the talent on display, I wouldn’t be surprised if it's picked up post-Fringe. I’m hungry for seconds!