Review: Fat Friends, Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday December 2

Jodie Prenger and Andrew Flintoff start in Fat Friends.
Jodie Prenger and Andrew Flintoff start in Fat Friends.

Kay Mellor’s highly successful sitcom has taken to the stage as a musical.

Although funny and popular when it launched on TV in 2000, Fat Friends – The Musical , comes over as dated and is not the stuff today’s major stage musicals are made of.

Nick Lloyd Webber’s score is excellent but has no tunes that stay with you once you’ve left the auditorium, while Mellor’s script, in the early stages, is perhaps a tad too wordy. However once the ‘Mellor magic’ kicks in the production gathers pace and energy.

But the mainstay of this production lies in its dynamic cast who fit beautifully into their individual characterisations and make them really believable .

The story revolves around the members of the Super Slimmers Group and Kelly, a bride, desperate to lose weight to fit into the wedding gown of her dreams.

As Kelly, Jodie Prenger is outstanding and drives the whole show. From her body image and vocals to her comedic interpretation her performance is pure gold.

Andrew Flintoff as her future husband proves he can do more than play cricket whilst Natasha Hamilton as the scheming owner of the slimming clubs is convincing, although at times is a little bit over the top.

Former Coronation Street star, Kevin Kennedy is superb as the long suffering fish and chip shop proprietor whose business is suffering because of Super Slimmers, even though his wife is one of their star dieters.

Fat Friends has a strong local connection, embedded with Leeds humour which local audiences love and can relate to, hence the standing ovation at its gala performance .

However there is one question to answer - will Fat Friends the Musical be as funny and relevant to those south of the Watford Gap?

It runs at Leeds Grand Theatre until Saturday December 2.

Tickets: 0844 848 2700.

Fat Friends is at Hull New Theatre from Monday January 29 to Saturday February 3.

Tickets can be booked on: 01482 300 306.