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Fat Friends The Musical Review – Churchill Theatre Bromley

Natalie Anderson and Jonathan Halliwell for Kay Mellor's Fat Friends the Musical. Photo by Helen Maybanks.
Natalie Anderson and Jonathan Halliwell for Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends the Musical. Photo by Helen Maybanks.

Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends the musical is currently on tour up and down the UK and has stopped off at the lovely Churchill Theatre in Bromley (16th – 20th January 2018).

Firstly, it is the lesser known names in the ensemble that really shine in this musical, with some fabulous performances.  However, they are superbly led by the well-known names in the lead roles. It’s always nice to see a face you know from the telly on a stage live but even better when they can do their job well.

Jodie Prenger who plays the lead Kelly is brilliantly cast and right from her first scene, we find ourselves loving her, laughing with her and also feeling those tender moving moments with her. Jodie has such an onstage presence and lovely chemistry with the other cast. However, the casting of Jodie’s mum is a little bit of a stretch for me. Sam Bailey who no one can deny has an amazing vocal range plays Betty who is Kelly’s mum, and I know I’m being picky but I’m not sure they have even tried to make Sam look old enough to play this role, even as a very young mum which is mentioned in the script the two characters as mum and daughter are hard to believe.

Rachael Wooding superbly doubles up in the musical as Joanne – Kelly’s sister and Pippa – the meek assistant to mega-bitch Julia Fleshman (Natasha Hamilton). The two roles Rachael Wooding plays are so different and the attention to detail she gives to each individual character leaves the audience wondering how they could have been played by one person. Rachael’s onstage roles may not be the biggest but when she is on stage she is a total joy to watch with amazing comic-timing.

Kay Mellor’s Script is what you would expect with lovely warm characters with relatable charm and a sense of humour throughout. The songs in the musical could have been cut down in my opinion, and none have stuck in my mind which disappointed me.

However, two of the musical numbers were highlights for me thanks to the choreography; there is a beautiful dance when wedding manikins come to life and a brilliant show-stopping number with costume changes, sauciness and 3 powerhouses on vocals (Jodie Prenger, Sam Bailey and Chloe Hart)

On the whole, the musical is enjoyable, entertaining and for anyone who has ever been to a slimming club, the show has funny realistic moments. Some of the cast are outstanding and the set is fantastic for a touring show. It is not something I would rush back to see or shout about for others to see but if you are going to see it, I’m sure you will have a lovely evening as it is full of heart and laughs.

3 Star Review

Review by Bonnie Britain

Fat Friends The Musical centres around the upcoming wedding of Kelly and Kevin. Kelly has dreamt about this day all her life but unbeknown to Kelly she has recently put on a lot of weight and her mother – yo-yo dieter Betty – has been trying to encourage her to slim down for the big day. But headstrong Kelly is happy with her lot and her fiancé Kevin. It’s only when she can’t get into her dream wedding dress that she realises there’s a problem. When dress shop owner and hopeless romantic, Lauren, tells Kelly that they don’t make the dress in her size, Kelly uses all their savings to buy the dress anyway, even though it’s two sizes too small!

Betty recently lost five stone and she’s up for Super Slimmer of the year. The final competition is tonight and the winner will be chosen; the BBC are covering it and Betty’s hot favourite to win. Kelly misses dinner to come and support her mum and is starving, so when things go wrong she kicks off with catastrophic results… for all our Fat (and not so fat) Friends!

Written by BAFTA award-winning writer Kay Mellor OBE, creator of the original hit series, and composed by Nick Lloyd Webber; FAT FRIENDS THE MUSICAL is being produced by Joshua Andrews and Adam Spiegel Productions.

With an all-star cast including West End favourite and winner of the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, Jodie Prenger; X Factor winner Sam Bailey; Atomic Kitten’s pop sensation Natasha Hamilton; star of Emmerdale and Wicked Natalie Anderson and Coronation Street legend Kevin Kennedy, Fat Friends The Musical is a feel-good night out for everybody and is set to be a HUGE hit!

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