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Deb Filler one-off new show to benefit Kadimah Collage

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This show is part of the inaugural Jewish Arts Festival

A review by Peter Calder (New Zealand Herald October 3, 2003 )
What: Filler Up
Where: Maidment Theatre
Reviewer: Peter Calder

You just need to look at the title to know that you´re in for something special: it´s an utterly unforced pun
(the writer and performer is the mostly expatriate comic treasure Deb Filler and the piece is about food) and
it´s a ringingly idiomatic phrase, instantly recognisable to compatriots she hasn´t seen for a while and
audiences farther afield as well.

Welcome back, Deb. It has been too long.

Her last solo show, Punch Me In The Stomach, seen here in the early 90s, still echoes in the memory as a
dangerously funny and astringently sad memoir of her upbringing as the daughter of a Holocaust camp survivor
(Sol, may he rest in peace).

Filler Up has the same utterly winning blend of humour and wistful observation. The 90-minute solo show fills
the Maidment (without benefit of amplification) with hilarious reminiscences in which the performer incarnates
several dozen characters, some only for a second or two.

Mostly, as befits someone from a family where cookbooks are serious literature, the stories are about food, but
they are leavened with hilarious one-liners (she eats eight ounces of chocolate a day because it decreases her
chances of getting prostate cancer) and vignettes (the day Operation Rescue picketed Weight Watchers HQ).
Through these observations - sly or pointed, or brutal or dense with aching compassion - there leaks a
well-worked riff about the tyranny wrought (on women in particular) by the cult of body image.

But what sets Filler Up apart is that there is much more. When she recalls (sparingly) her father and his
assurance that she never knew what it was to be hungry, we know she´s for real.
The show becomes, like the best comedy, something verging on the tragic: an intelligent and evocative
meditation on appetite and hunger.

Filler is a performer of boundless charm and quite devoid of conceit.

The show, plainly refined and improved through constant performance, is a knockout. Miss it at your peril.
  Click here for Booking Form
(Published by Adina Halpern on 02/11/2005 11:11 )
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