Fat Friends was honestly a laugh a minute
With only 6 weeks until her wedding Kelly buys her dream dress, the only problem is it happens to be two sizes to small but there is no deterring, her she is making it her mission to get the dress to fit.
As the title suggests the story is centred around the local slimming club, by chance Julia Fleshman who is head judge comes to town , played by the wonderful Natasha Hamilton who is most well known for being one third of pop band Attomic Kitten. She is filming their annual slimming contest live and initially offering a £5000 prize to the biggest loser until she crosses paths with the shows central character Kelly played by the nations favourite Jodie Prenger.
Jodie was a breath of fresh air, the character was so lovable and relatable. She was made famous 10 years ago when winning televised talent show "I'd Do Anything" which was the search for Nancy in the new westend production of Oliver. Since then she has graced the stage across the U.K in a variety of musicals such as Spamalot, Annie, One man Two Guvnors, Tell me on a Sunday, Shirley Valentine and Calamity Jane in which she played the title role.
So a bit more about the story, Kelly ends up being an internet sensation with her body confident comments; and seizing the opportunity for some publicity, Fleshman offers to pay not only for Kelly's dress but for the entire wedding if she can slim into the dress in time for the big day. But with the wedding mere weeks away can she do it ?
Fat Friends is very much a piece of crowd-pleasing piece of theatre, there was generally a laugh a minute. Pulling together multiple stories of 10 different characters who live in Headingly, a small town near Leeds, the stage is filled with likeable characters and is an honest evening of easygoing fun.
The show boasts a ream of well known names, Jodie and Natasha who I have already mentioned, Sam Bailey (The X-Factor) is great as Kelly’s Mum. Thrown into the mix is an affable turn from Kevin Kennedy who everyone remembers as playing Curly Watts in Coronation Street, Kevin is Kelly's dad and runs the local chip shop and Joel Montague, Guildford school of acting trained who takes to the stage with a slightly stilted, if not tongue in cheek, portrayal of Kevin, Kelly’s nice but dim fiance who in my opinion had a cracking singing voice.
The songs are overall enjoyable and used to move the story forward, as an avid Musical fan it was very apparent where Nick Lloyd Webber (Composer) gets his inspiration from as the sound was quite similar to something you would hear composed by his father, Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber. The songs were perfectly pleasant to listen to and written with a good laugh in mind, they served their purpose well enough in terms of keeping up the show upbeat and jolly though in my opinion aren't going to win award for creativity. The live orchestra added to the atmosphere within the theatre and the set design was a colourful cartoonish affair which was well lit and effective , I loved how the windows were transformed into TV's at various times.
Written and directed by Kay Mellor, who wrote the original TV series that the show is based on; Fat Friends is a roaring, boisterous and upbeat show, which really resonates with its target audience. If you have the chance to see it I can confidently say you will leave in great form as I lost count of the amount of times I had a good belly laugh
Fat Friends is at until 13th March 2018 in The Grand Opera House, Belfast.
To book tickets click here or call 02890 241919