My Fat Friend - performed April 1993

By Charles Laurence

Performed with the kind permission of Samuel French

Director - Dennis Murfitt


(in order of appearance)

Victoria Hope Valerie Taylor
James Anderson Adrian Bolton
Tom Reynolds Nigel Rowe
Henry Simmonds Dennis Murfitt

Production Team

Peter Westbrook, Judy Hussey, Jenny Rollings, Janet Green, Bruce Emeny, Maurice Barber, Derek Cobbold, Kevin Brown, Greg Garrod, Gill Baxter, Geoffrey Taylor, Ian Tucker, Frances Brown, Sheila Horton, Patience Ling, Viv Wheatley, and other volunteers not mentioned.

The Play

Vicky, who runs a book shop in Hampstead, is a heavyweight. Inevitably she suffers, good humoredly enough, the slings and arrows of the two characters who share the flat over the shop, a somewhat glum Scottish youth who works in an au pair capacity, and her lodger, a not so young homosexual. When a customer a handsome bronzed man of thirty seems attracted to her she resolves she will slim by hook or by crook. Aided by her two friends, hard exercise, diet and a graph, she manages to reduce to a stream line version of her former self only to find that it was her rotundity that attracted him in the first place. When, on his return, he finds himself confronted by a sylph his disappointment is only too apparent. The newly slim Vicky is left alone once more, to be consoled up to a point by her effeminate lodger.


Fat is beautiful, the say but so is the laughter caused by the Manifest Theatre Group’s latest production My Fat Friend by Charles Laurence. The story-line is straightforward, A depressive over-weight spinster finds romance and starts an improve-yourself-course. But one of the characters is certainly not straight. Denis Murfitt plays the ageing, homosexual lodger, and keeps the audience in fits as he queens it on stage. His fat friend is Valerie Taylor – with the help of some well-placed padding – and the two bicker like mad, but share their deserved limelight. Co-stars Adrian Bolton and Nigel Rowe seem to have less confidence on stage, but also lose out because they play serious roles. It is showing every night until Saturday, but you’ll be lucky if you can get hold of a ticket.
Sue Wallis

Photo Shoot

Dennis, Val, Adrian

(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)