Logie award winner Patrick Harvey stars in Neil LaBute's examination of weakness and love which opens at Chapel Off Chapel next month.
In his usual no holds barred style, Labute examines what it means to love a plus-sized girl in a world where beauty is guided by Hollywood good looks.. When Tom is criticized by his somewhat shallow friends for falling in love with a bright and funny but slightly more curvaceous model of what might be considered beautiful, he must defend not only his own honour but that of Helen as well.
Harvey plays Carter who is stunned that Tom could be dating someone like Helen and advises Tom in no uncertain terms of the folly he will find himself in if he continues to favour Helen over designer style people. "Carter is – as Tom puts it, "A bit of a knob", but I believe he's a redeemable knob," says Harvey about his character. "He's Tom's workmate and he's always there with an honest opinion and a crude joke to try and help him on his journey through life."
Harvey is perhaps best known for his work as Connor O'Neill, the loveable Irish best mate of Toadfish Rebecchi, in Neighbours – a gig which earned him a Logie for Most Popular New Male Talent in 2003. After leaving Ramsey Street, Harvey spent time in the UK on the panto scene as well appearing on the West End in Vegemite Tales. Harvey's early Australian TV credits include The Saddle Club and Blue Heelers.
Harvey grew up in both Northern Ireland and Australia but it was in a production of Oliver in Belfast's Grand Opera House at the tender age of 8 that eh found his love for the stage. "Originally my parents thought it would keep me out of trouble and off the streets but after the show finished I told my a parents I loved doing it so they put me in drama school," says Harvey. "Within 2 years I'd done a couple of commercials, some voice over work and more theatre and that was it for me!!"
Last year saw Harvey in HIT Productions' stage version of The Sum of Us in the role of Jeff with John Jarratt playing Harry. When asked what his most challenging role to date had been Harvey said of this experience: "Challenging? I'm not sure if I used the word challenging but when I was playing Jeff in The Sum of Us a couple of years ago and having to be sexually attracted to another guy was different for me, but after I got past that and really understood the show it wasn't so difficult – love is love, no matter what way you look at it, black, white, man, woman – it's all the same."
Fat Pig also stars two-time Green Room Award nominee Lyall Brooks (The Pride Red Stitch, The Heretic MTC), Cassandra Magrath (Wolf Creek, SeaChange) and Lulu McClatchy (Bogan Pride SBS) as Helen. It was the opportunity to work with Mcclatchy again that raised Harvey's interest initially but he was also eager to work with the other members of the stellar cast as well as director Daniel Frederiksen (AFI and Logie nominated actor)
Fat Pig is a play about need, sacrifice, perspective, change and all things in between. It questions and challenges both individual and societal thinking and perhaps is successful in unearthing the shallowness in us all. "We are all human and even though we like to think we're not judgmental or prejudice… We are," agrees Harvey. "But we should always try to remember no matter who we are, we all have feelings."
So what should audiences expect from Lab Kelpie's production of Neil Labute's play. Says Harvey: "Just the feeling that they saw a show that was done well and treated with respect. There are loads of awkward laughs in there too so maybe some great quotes too – a great cast and a story about friendship, love and idiot superficial workmates."
9 – 20 October
Tues-Sat 8pm; Sun 6pm; Matinee Sat 4pm