The ‘Weight’ Is Over As All-Star Cast Bring TV Favourite To Life


A host of top stars are set to bring to life Kay Mellor’s brand new musical based on her hit comedy-drama Fat Friends.

The musical version of the show will feature a pop star turned stage favourite, two popular soap stars, a national treasure who has already charmed Norwich Theatre Royal audiences and a stunning vocalist/performer who wowed Saturday night TV when it takes to the stage on March 12-17 next year.

Taking on the role of the bright and bubbly fish-and-chip-shop worker Kelly Stevenson is Jodie Prenger, who delighted Norwich Theatre Royal patrons this autumn in Shirley Valentine. She shot to fame after winning the role of Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s revival of Oliver! on the BBC’s hit show I’d Do Anything and since then has become a highly sought-after stage performer, singer and presenter.

Jodie Prenger

Meanwhile The X Factor favourite Sam Bailey will play her mother Betty. The former prison officer swapped the cells for the stage when she won the tenth series of the ITV prime-time hit and since then, has become a highly sought-after West End and touring stage performer and singing superstar.

Also making his Norwich Theatre Royal return in the show is Kevin Kennedy who plays Kelly’s sharp-tongued father Fergus. Best-known for his iconic soap role as the much-loved Curly Watts in Coronation Street, Kevin has also appeared in a host of West End shows including We Will Rock You and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as winning huge festive acclaim in Norwich when he played Captain Hook in the Theatre Royal pantomime Peter Pan back in 2014.

And another former soap star also stars in Fat Friends The Musical. Former Emmerdale favourite Natalie Anderson plays bridal shop worker Lauren who runs the Headingley branch of the Super Slimmers club which is at the centre of the production. She is best known for playing Alicia in the Yorkshire-set ITV soap opera but is no stranger to the stage having appeared in Wicked in the West End and Romeo And Juliet for West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Sam Bailey

It will also feature former Atomic Kitten star turned stage favourite Natasha Hamilton. She will play the ultra-nasty slimming guru Julia Fleshman and is no stranger to the spotlight having been part of one of Britain’s most successful girl-groups. Natasha also boasts a strong stage pedigree having appeared in the likes of Blood Brothers in the West End and Rent on tour.

Others stars of the show include Rachael Wooding (We Will Rock You), Joel Montague (Funny Girl), and Jonathan Halliwell (White Christmas, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and TV’s Let It Shine). It will also star Neil Hurst, one of dozens of Yorkshiremen who applied for the role of Alan through an open audition.

The brand new stage show reunites the characters from Kay Mellor’s TV hit in an original musical bulging with hope, humour and heart. The loveable characters are put through their Zumba paces at Super Slimmers while regular member Kelly dreams about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams.

John Bultitude, of Norwich Theatre Royal, said: “This production boasts an incredible cast, the wonderful writing of Kay Mellor and specially-composed music by Nicholas Lloyd Webber. There is no ‘weigh’ you can miss this show which promises a generous serving of hilarious fun with a sprinkle of romance on top.”

Fat Friends is here from 12 – 17 March 2018. Buy tickets now at Norwich Theatre Royal.