There has been so much publicity and hype around this and it was so obvious from the noise from the (mostly female) audience last night that the big draw for this was the fact Freddie Flintoff is making his stage debut in this show.
For those of you who don’t know this show is a musical based on the fit TV show of the same name. The TV show centered on a group of friends who were united by their involvement with a slimming club and starred Freddies mate James Corden as well as Ruth Jones and some of the UKs best comedy actors. Written by the award winning Kay Mellor even the idea of this should guarantee a hit show.
This show focuses on the relationship between Kelly (Jodie Prenger) and Kevin (Freddie Flintoff) and how she is desperate to be able to fit in her dream wedding dress for her wedding day in 6 weeks time.
It shows the trials and tribulations of members of a slimming club as they struggle to meet their target weights and deal with being hungry!
The script of this is absolutely hilarious, I laughed until I cried! It was brilliant and the casting was perfect! Some of the highlights for me were the weigh ins at the club when everyone wears the tightest fitting clothes they can and takes off anything that weighs even a tiny amount. I’ve never been to one of these clubs but I am reliably informed that this is exactly what happens and judging by the howling in the audience I think they agreed.
It deals with the issues of body image so sensitively and with humour and so much warmth it was impossible to not be drawn into the story and care about the characters you’re watching.
As I said the cast was perfect for this, Sam Bailey is incredible as Betty, I knew she could sing but hearing her live was unbelievable!
I’ve seen lovely Natasha Hamilton many a time over the years but it seems like she was wasted as a member of Atomic Kitten, she played Julia Fleshman perfectly, she was such a diva and vocally a lot stronger than I’ve heard her in the ‘pop’ world. I’m looking forward to seeing her in other things, I’d like to see her play Velma in Hairspray..
I always love a bit of comedy in a theatre show and this one was no different, although there was so much in this to laugh at Rachel Wooding in her roles as Joanne and Pippa had some of the best lines in this show and I found myself looking forward to any scenes that she was in.
But I know what you’re thinking, what about Freddie Flintoff? Can he act/sing? Was he good? Actually yes he was. His acting was brilliant, his comic timing and delivery were perfect. Kevin is not the smartest tool in the box and he played him in such a way that you just do feel sorry for him but love him at the same time. I’m not going to say he’s the best singer in the world because he isn’t but his character doesn’t need to be. The songs he had he sang well and performed them with so much confidence, he really is comfortable on the stage.
All in all I did really enjoy this show, it’s one of the funniest ones I’ve seen in a long time. It was nice to finally see Jodie Prenger on stage I’d not had a chance to before and she is such a wonderful performer.
I wasn’t the greatest fan of the songs however and I think this would work just as well as a play without the music, if not better. Having said that there was one shining moment in the song ‘Chocolate’ where really I could see myself singing it, I totally got that one! I do love chocolate.
The audience loved this show and it’s a definite must if you are or have ever been to any of the slimming clubs and can relate to it. Even if you haven’t for a fun evening of theatre it’s well worth a watch!
FAT FRIENDS IS AT THE MAYFLOWER UNTIL 10TH FEB – TICKETS AVAILABLE FROM WWW.MAYFLOWER.ORG.UK