Messy, hilarious, endearing, and perfectly relatable. Boys Taste Better with Nutella is the story of two friends, each with their own version of unresolved trauma and self-loathing, reaching for the nearest jar of Nutella or pack of french fries.
“If you don’t love yourself, no one else will love you.”– Aggy & Frederick
Aggy, played by Caitlin Hill, just can’t seem to stop changing herself for the men who don’t even care about her; while Frederick, played by Peter Wood, is in constant need of validation from strangers he meets online. From abusive relationships and the paradoxically isolating world of the internet, to binge eating, the comedy theatre production breaks down some of the biggest curveballs life throws at us, with actual catapulting bits of junk food.
Produced by Backyard Theatre Collective, and co-directed by Kristen Maloney and the performers themselves, the comedic storytelling jumps from past to present, incorporating plenty of witty, sometimes coarse, dialogue with quirky dance moves. It takes you through the latest online craze of narcissism-meets-food, mukbang, and even if you don’t know what that is, the whole premise is relatable – who hasn’t felt that empty void and hoped to fill it with a delicious habit?
With all the obvious food references, you can imagine the ample amount of Nutella that is featured in the show. Still, it is surprising to see just how messy it gets very early on. The copious smears of brown and shower of fries got everyone roaring with laughter while simultaneously reflecting on the craziness that is the duo’s reality.
Hill and Wood’s spirited and genuine performances were the absolute heart of the show, making even the most comedic segments believable. Their lighthearted invitation for audience participation and improvised dialogue were seamless. Despite setting the scene of two ‘losers’, I couldn’t help but feel all the more invested as we witnessed Aggy and Frederick’s progress in their quest to pull themselves out of their psyche hell-holes. In the first half of the show, I found myself gunning for the charming characters.
The 50-minute performance left me hungry for more – not so much for the mounds of sickly sweet spread or the stale, cold fries both Hill and Wood were able to chow down in an admirably ugly fashion – but hungry to know what happens next to Aggy and Frederick. Were they able to banish their demons and come out of it triumphant? Did self-love win?
The open-ended finish only makes the show all the more alluring. This is a deliciously kitsch, yet savagely honest, production that will leave a lasting impression. You will laugh; you may feel a pull at the heartstrings; but you will walk away at the end of it satisfied, and it will have nothing to do with eating Nutella.
Don’t miss Boys Taste Better with Nutella during Adelaide Fringe 2020, playing everyday at The Mill until 23 February 2020.
Reviewed performance: 18 February 2020