Fat Friends The Musical
Fat Friends at The Orchard Theatre
Fat Friends is one of the new musicals currently touring around the UK. It focuses on mother and daughter, Betty and Kelly. Betty is a super slimmer but unfortunately her daughter Kelly needs convincing. It’s only when Julia Fleshman, head and founder of Super Slimmer’s, offers to pay for her dream wedding dress does Kelly begin her weight loss journey in the public eye, but how far will Julia go to ensure that Kelly fits into her dress.
Mother and daughter due are played by Sam Bailey and Jodie Prenger respectively. Whilst they both play their parts beautifully and undoubtedly have powerful voices the casting itself is rather odd. With only 2 years between them I found the mother/daughter relationship difficult to believe. Whilst they did their best to dress Prenger down and her take on younger mannerisms it just didn’t work.
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The rest of the cast however were well suited to their roles. Natasha Hamilton played the slimming world queen in an enjoyable bitchy fashion and in contrast Natalie Anderson was a loveable Lauren, the best friend and Slimming Club mentor.
The book itself is by Kay Mellor. It has a good heart and a lot of laughs, looking fondly at slimming clubs and diets, friendship and relationships. All are told with affection and characters that you do develop a fondness for as a result.
Whilst the storyline was fun and frothy my main issue with the show was the music and lyrics. Lyrics, also by Kay Mellor were often cringe worthy and a whole song revolved around fish and chips and another around chocolate. The composition by Nick Lloyd Webber, wasn’t much better. I am unable to even hum the melody of any of the songs, I even struggled in the interval to hum any songs from Act 1.
The show could also do with a trim itself as at over 2 and a half hours the jokes begin to wear thin after this time. I also began to question the purpose of some of the numbers.
The set suited the show well. The neon shop signs across the stage such as ‘Big & Battered,’ and ‘Pizza Pie’ left the audience in no doubt what the focus on the show was on and simple set and lighting changes conveyed the change of scene easily.
Whilst the show is one with a large heart unfortunately the music and lyrics let me wanting more, remarkably like Kelly on her diet.
To find out more about Fat Friends and where else it will be on tour visit their website.