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Review: Fat Friends the Musical, Manchester’s Opera House

Review: Fat Friends the Musical, Manchester’s Opera House

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Kay Mellor’s smash hit sitcom Fat Friends takes to the stage on it’s first UK tour.

Many sitcom shows have been turned into musicals for stage and screen, and that is what Fat Friends the Musical is, with an extra dash of showbiz and multiple homages to other musicals.

Kay Mellor captures the best of British musical theatre in two and a half hours, with every kind of classic musical song you can think of.

Opening with a brightly coloured class of Zumba and seven bottoms shaking as the curtain rises in ‘Move It’, the cast gets the show off the ground from the get-go. With references to why the community of Headingley can’t lose weight.

(1920 x 1085) Natalie-Anderson-and-Jonathan-Halliwell-for-Kay-Mellors-Fat-Friends-the-Musical.-Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks.-001

Natalia Anderson as Lauren, the slim, Zumba and diet-obsessed dress shop owner, demands the stage and gets the audience ready for what is going to be an action-packed show.

Jodie Prenger shines brighter than the Blackpool illuminations as Kelly. Channelling her inner 20-year-old, Prenger’s voice is purely exquisite, and the sass and witty manner has the audience in the palm of her hands.

(1920 x 1085) Jodie-Prenger-and-Andrew-Flintoff-for-Kay-Mellors-Fat-Friends-the-Musical.-Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks.-002

A pleasant surprise is in the form of the sex-god Freddie Flintoff as Kelly’s bit slow finance Kevin. He can sing, he can act the hopeless romantic perfectly and did we mention he can dance! An incredible performer to watch on stage, and I look forward to seeing more of his musical and acting career in the future.

Sam Bailey and Kevin Kennedy adopt Kelly’s mum and dad wonderfully, and Bailey’s performance is mesmerising – her comic timing is perfect when she announces that she’s pregnant again.

(1920 x 1085) Jodie-Prenger-and-Sam-Bailey-for-Kay-Mellors-Fat-Friends-the-Musical.-Photo-by-Helen-Maybanks.-001

The show stealer was Rachel Wooding as Kelly’s sister Joanne, with her quick wit, rude comments saying what everyone is thinking and perfect comic timing.

The music composed by Nick Llyod Webber is everything you want from a musical – the traditional end of Act I big ballad for the lead, the song where the guy tries to win the girl back, and a nice big megamix at the end.

With choreography inspired by musicals such as Chorus Line, Chicago and the divas from Hercules, Karen Bruce takes Zumba to the next level.

A fabulous production that has everything British people will love – fish and chips, drunken hen do’s and a charming romance storyline.

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