Fat Friends – Leeds Grand

FAT FRIENDS, the TV series, hit our screens in 2000 and ran for five years showing the ups and downs of members of a local slimming class. Now creator Kay Mellor has transferred these quirky characters to the stage adding music and dance for a truly Northern comedy musical.

Whether you remember the TV series or not, you will soon be drawn into the life of bride-to-be Kelly, who thinks diets are rubbish and is happy with her curves until she finds her dream wedding dress – just a shame it is two sizes too small.

Kelly’s mum Betty however has always been on the diet train, losing and then regaining the weight, and is sure that her latest SuperSlimmers Club can help Kelly. She is persuaded that if she loses two stones in six weeks , then the head of SuperSlimmers will pay for her wedding and make Kelly as her new poster girl.

With exercise classes, illegal diet pills, airbrushing and a somewhat unhappy fiancée who wants the old Kelly back we are treated to some wonderfully realistic characters and laughs along the way. With fantastic performances from the whole cast this was a real ensemble piece, with the performers appearing to gel together and support each other stop.

Seasoned performer Jodie Prenger was the outspoken Kelly with a commanding singing voice, while the new-to-musicals Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff might not have the best singing voice but was so believable as the smitten Kevin that you fell in love with the character.

With a mix of upbeat and heartfelt songs, Nick Lloyd Webber’s music hits the mark and helps bring the story to life. A wonderfully realistic show with a larger-than-life cast and plenty of laughs along the way.

• Until December 2, visit leedsgrandtheatre.com or call 0844 8482700 to book tickets.

Katrina Knights