As you know, I do like a good comedy, so when I heard that Fat Friends The Musical was coming to town, I had to go!
Based on the original comedy series from the early noughties (I remember it well!) written by Kay Mellor, she has revamped it into a musical for the stage instead of the small screen…and I am so glad she did.
Featuring a stellar cast including Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff (Kevin), Jodie Prenger (Kelly), Natalie Anderson (Lauren), Sam Bailey (Betty), Kevin Kennedy (Fergus) and Natasha Hamilton (Julia Fleshman)…and that’s to only name a few as they all deserve a mention, each and every cast member was amazing.
From the curtain up I could tell we were in for something special, and it was just the colourful bottoms swaying to the beat in an exercise class. The set was as vibrant as the costumes, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.
The story is centred around Kelly (Jodie Prenger) and her quest to lose some weight before her wedding to the love of her life Kevin (Andrew Flintoff). Joining the slimming club that her mum, Betty (Sam Bailey) has successfully attended. Run by the fit and flighty Lauren (Natalie Anderson), Kelly reluctantly joins the group, despite protestations from her beau. Kelly so desperate to fit in her dream wedding dress, and encouraged by a generous offer of having her wedding paid for by the Super Slimmers founder, Julia Fleshman (Natasha Hamilton), Kelly accepts some dodgy tablets from Julia, who only has the publicity in mind, not Kelly’s well-being or dreams.
Will the diet cheat be successful? Or will it all go wrong.
Whilst this musical is a comedy, at the heart of it is the serious issue of body image, we know it is important to be fit and healthy, but it is also important to love ourselves…the rest will happen. The stigma around ‘fat clubs’, the name-calling, the self-esteem issues people of all sizes suffer is all relatable in this musical. Yes obesity is a serious issue, but Kay Mellor pokes a bit of light-hearted fun at it. Even slim and healthy people have at least one hang up. Everyone will feel how Kelly feels at some point, ultimately we want to be beautiful to someone but also loved for who we are.
The whole audience were belly laughing, it was amazingly brilliant. This musical will be around for years and I will go and see it each time, it’s definitely high up there with the greats. The songs were all made to giggle and there were some fantastic singers on stage, I couldn’t pick a favourite. Flintoff held his own up there. I mean, he’s no Alfie Boe but he did a good job especially with his solo. He definitely had some fans in the audience!
Ok until Saturday 31st March at the Theatre Royal, Fat Friends The Musical is a must see.
Photos by Helen Maybanks