We all know at least one person who’s counting the calories, life is measured in points or syns and cumulative snacks are sacrificed for a glass of wine at the weekend. Joshua Coley was so inspired by his own family’s experiences of the slimming club that he wrote Fatbusters The Musical, full of characters and situations which feel incredibly familiar, whether we’ve ever set foot on the communal scales or not.
Helen (Tiffany Parker) has moved back to the East Midlands to be closer to her ailing mother, she’s desperate for her boyfriend to propose but he’s frightened he’s getting the reputation of being a ‘chubby chaser’. In an attempt to keep her man she joins the local Fatbusters group and over the course of a year, the group of quirky characters become solid friends and confidantes, standing up to the tyrannical group leader, Fiona (Yvette Robinson), and matchmaking Helen with Greg (Paul Bradshaw). The official meetings are followed by unofficial ones at the home of Sue (Kate Playdon), where the wine is opened and the takeaways ordered.
Performing at St Giles in the Fields Church seems wholly appropriate for a musical that’s predominantly set in a church hall, and while the acoustics did make the sound a little problematic, the ambiance was just right.
The plot might be fairly predictable but that just allows you to focus on the score, which is beautifully written with a really good mixture of songs that keeps the audiences toes tapping. There’s even some pretty impressive dance numbers and the choreography from Cameron Hal is a real highlight, especially in the act one finale.
The biggest selling point is the comedy, this is a real laugh out loud, traditional family comedy. The character of Patricia (Christina Meehan) gets the biggest laughs, deservedly, but the cast work together and have perfected their coming timing.
Fatbusters The Musical, directed by Rebecca Westberry, might not help you lose weight, but it will lighten the load and reduce the stress levels. This is a family sized bar of fun, it’s impossible not to come out smiling, humming along to the tunes and wishing you had friends like Patricia and Sue in your life.