Following the success of its first outing, Kay Mellor’s Fat Friends – The Musical, returns to theatres, starring West End and TV favourite, Lee Mead. This hugely entertaining musical is based on the hit TV show Fat Friends, that starred James Corden and Ruth Jones. Created and directed by the brilliant award winning Kay Mellor, (In the Club, Girlfriends, Band of Gold), whose latest hit series of The Syndicate has just run on BBC ONE and with original music and songs by Nicholas Lloyd Webber, Fat Friends – The Musical reunites our favourite foodie friends as they are put through their Zumba paces at their local slimming club, whilst Kelly fantasises about fitting into the wedding dress of her dreams.
Starring three West End veterans, Lee Mead, Stephen Rahman-Hughes and Ramin Karimloo, the West End Men present a selection of key songs from some of their most famous roles together with a collection of some of the world’s best known show tunes.
As Mead, Rahman-Hughes and especially Karimloo take to the stage, the cheers are almost deafening, for Karimloo the reception stops him literally in his tracks – asking the musical director to give him his key again as the crowd refuse to be quieted.
The three then rip through some of the most famous songs in musical theatre with some pop favourites thrown in for good measure. The quality of the singing is top-rate which is only to be expected from performers with their pedigree, but it is Karimloo who is the stand-out star of the night, his voice making the others look pedestrian in comparison – it is easy to see why he is regarded the West End’s best, and favourite star. There isn’t much more to say except that this was top quality, a sheer joy to watch and it sent the audience home hoarse of voice but with a spring in their step and a song in their heart. Hopefully it won’t be long before the trio make a welcome return to Glasgow. An excellent night’s entertainment.
Before Dorothy crash-landed in Oz there were two talented witches; Glinda and Elphaba; and the man of their dreams…Fiyero;
The plot of this superbly polished musical extravaganza is (part of) the backstory to the much-loved ‘Wizard of Oz’ published in 1900, and subsequently converted into numerous film versions, the most notable of which appeared in 1939 and starred Judy Garland.
‘Wicked’ takes us back to the death of the Wicked Witch of the West – known here as Elphaba – and describes how she became Wicked, and provides a history of her relationship with the good witch, Glinda.
The original idea for this off-beat, but imaginative concept, came from the mind and pen of author Gregory Maguire, who apparently wrote the novel while residing in London in 1990.
When you arrive at the Apollo Victoria Theatre you notice the tangible energy emanating from the waiting audience, most of which were people (in their teens) on (multiple) repeat visits. This show has, from day 1, had a stunning following thanks to an incredible merchandising and promotional effort, Wicked T-shirts were worn by half the audience and most sang along to the songs.
It is very American in both its staging and content but Wicked is musical theatre at its best: a dazzling stage set, superb costumes, with an extremely talented cast, there’s a reason people go to see this again and again – it is that good. Go and lose yourself for a few hours if you can!