Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati has had a wonderfully diverse season this year. From the powerful OTHER DESERT CITIES, to RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN (which I kick myself often for missing), AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, TRIBES, and THE MOUNTAINTOP they have explored themes as diverse as dysfunctional family secrets and angelic interventions. But with SIZE MATTERS they explore a brand new topic – what its like to be a large man in America.
I can relate to this show, maybe more than most. As I wedged my 300+ pound frame into the center seat in Row H and settled in my long legs, knees-bent in the least painful way I’ve found in this awkwardly sloped theatre, I settled in for a touching, warm, and hilarious night by the fantastic Raymond McAnally. Ray, who won an LCT award last year for Miss Mannerly, is a likable lug and his willingness to poke fun at himself – and his nephew, Morgan – caused me to feel choked up more than once. This alone causes me to recommend a show nearly every time, but in this case, I want to tell you more about why I think its not to be missed.
Raymond McAnally is telling the truth in ways that I hadn’t heard before. Sure, we always hear about women and body image. Its a common theme nowadays to come to the aid of the big and beautiful lady. Melissa McCarthy, for instance, has broken the mold for comedic women to do more than just be “the fat friend.” Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”) has done this to a lesser extent on the dramatic side with her work in Precious and American Horror Story. But where are the serious male roles for guys who the size of McAnally . . .that don’t focus on his girth?
Mostly I want you to see this show because McAnally’s story rings true and I can attest to that. His demonstration of sitting on an airplane is accurate and his nephew’s self-conscious questions about dancing at a wedding were as authentic as they can be . . . all without being over the top. I think people may go into this show expecting hilarity from start to finish – but that wouldn’t be fair to the material or the actor. This is Raymond McAnally’s unique story, but its also a show about me. And you, if you’ve ever struggled with your appearance. I loved it and I think you will, too.
SIZE MATTERS runs through May 25th at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. It features the considerable talents of Raymond McAnally and was directed by Ed Stern and D. Lynn Myers. With a pedigree like that, how could it be anything other than stellar? Tickets and more information is available here.