Reviewed by Tracey Stoker
I loved Fat Friends, the TV series, so was longing to see the musical version and it didn’t disappoint. Written by Kay Mellor, a Leeds girl herself. Fat Friends follows the daily lives of a group of people in Headingley, Leeds who like many of us are trying to lose weight. This a all show cast starring Jodie Prenger, Sam Bailey, Freddie Flintoff, Natalie Anderson and Kevin Kennedy to name but a few. It also has a fantastic supporting cast. The acting is amazing, the songs are spectacular and laughs a many.
The main character, Kelly, is brilliantly played by Jodie Prenger. You will laugh and cry with her throughout the show. She is a louder than life character who loves her size and can’t wait to marry her soulmate Kevin played by Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff. Kevin loves Kelly, every single inch and curve of her but the problem is she can’t fit in her dream wedding dress! So her mum, played by Sam Bailey, suggests she joins the local slimming club. Kelly’s mum has lost 5 stone herself there and is up for ‘slimmer of the year’. But Kelly loves her food and doesn’t see the need to lose weight. “Bones aren’t sexy, Fat is fabulous” is Kelly’s motto. But even though her mum doesn’t win slimmer of the year, the founder of the slimming club Julia Fleshman, played by Laura Mansell, gives Kelly a challenge in front of the TV cameras that are there, if she can lose enough weight to fit in her wedding dress, then Julia will pay for it and the whole wedding! So Kelly embarks on losing weight.
The slimming club is pure comedy gold. From people stripping down to the least amount of clothes possible and even taking off their jewellery to lose half a pound more. You laugh because if you have ever been to a slimming club, then you know this really happens! Listening to Natalie Anderson who plays the local slimming consultant ‘Lauren’ try to explain that Mango tastes just as good as chocolate, made me laugh as I’m sure I’ve been to this slimming club and nothing tastes like chocolate!! The sexy dance scene with topless men and flake bars has to be seen to be believed, I won’t spoil it any more than that!
Whereas the TV show was set 15 years ago, the musical is up to date and shows how social media builds body insecurities with Photoshop, Facebook and Snapchat. Kelly whilst trying to lose weight to win her dream dress has to face online abuse from trolls till she feels so bad, she resorts to slimming pills to try and win! Jodie Prenger plays her part so well, so believable.
So will Kelly lose the weight? Will she fit in her dress and prove the trolls wrong? Will she ditch the pills and just be happy with her Kevin? Will the wedding even go ahead? Well, you will just have to go watch it to find out. One of the best shows I have seen this year. You won’t be disappointed!
I have to mention Bradford Alhambra. I have been here many times to see shows and it is amazing. So ideally situated for transport links and car parking. The building is fully accessible for people with disabilities. The staff are so helpful and approachable, and the building inside and out is beautiful. The Alhambra is a fantastic venue for an evening out.
Tickets cost from £19 to £45 (booking fees may apply).
Fat Friends – The Musical is at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford from 14-19 May 2018, for more information or to book tickets visit www.bradford-theatres.co.uk or call the box office on 01274 432000.
Alhambra Theatre, Morley Street, Bradford, BD7 1AJ | 01274 432000