Filler Up

Scotsman Assembly (venue 3)

AS PERFORMER/singer Deb Filler unfolds her delightful tale, she bakes a loaf of bread to her grandmother’s recipe. The heavenly scents were such mouthwatering torture to this harried, hungry Fringe reviewer, that I leapt bleachers at the curtain to be the first in the seagull flock to tear into it. Delicious, Deb: just like grandmother used to make.

New Zealand-born Filler, who is Jewish, inherited her mother’s appetites, her baker father’s love of pastries and the recipe box and thighs of her grandmother. These were thighs big enough to walk her family out of war-torn Europe in the 1930s and make their way across two oceans to New Zealand. Her ancestors were survivors; she is the child of survivors.

Each day Filler’s waste-hating father would return from work with a tray of pastries to fatten his family and send family pets to premature graves. "Some people have a sweet tooth," she says. "I’ve got a fat tooth."

Filler’s life is a battle with the bulge, and a quest to find her place as a performer and in the world. Her mother sent her to fat farms; she escaped to the stage schools - and Russian delis - of Manhattan.

This is a moving portrait of a woman leaving behind the self-consciousness accrued after a lifetime of not fitting into clothes or a skinnier world. It has taken her 20 years to learn not to blame others and to accept and love who she is.

Mixing storytelling with song, Filler’s warm, riotous personality and talent simply overflow from the Assembly’s Wildman Room. Consistently funny, Filler has a better singing voice than she lets on and about six really good voices, all "oi vey" Jewish variants. But she should sing straight a little more, pick up the pace, tighten the ending, and get a cooking show, already.

1:45pm, today. Runs until 26 August