FAT Friends the Musical comes to Mayflower Theatre next week with a star-studded cast.

And the inspired casting includes a former England cricket captain best known for his ability as an all-rounder.

Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, who retired from cricket in 2010, has swapped the pitch for the stage to make his theatrical debut to great acclaim. He plays Kevin Mergatroyd opposite I’d Do Anything winner Jodie Prenger as his fiancée, Kelly on the world premiere UK tour.

One of the world’s most recognised cricket stars, Flintoff won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2005 after playing a pivotal role in regaining the Ashes from Australia. Since the Lancashire lad’s cricket career ended, he has become a much loved presenter and broadcaster. Appearing as a captain on Sky’s A League of Their Own, he was also crowned King of the Jungle in the first Australian version of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!

Having just filmed a part in a new Mellor ITV series, this role will see Freddie continue to affirm his acting credentials after bowling over the show’s creator and composer Nicholas Lloyd Webber during auditions.

Also starring is X Factor 2013 winner Sam Bailey, Atomic Kitten Natasha Hamilton and soap favourites Kevin Kennedy and Natalie Anderson

Whilst known internationally as one third of Atomic Kitten, Natasha Hamilton has starred on stage as Mrs Johnston in Blood Brothers (Phoenix Theatre) and Rent (Touring).

Kevin Kennedy is most recognised for his 20-year portrayal of Norman ‘Curly’ Watts in ITV’s flagship soap Coronation Street (1983-2003) but his theatre credits include Chicago (Adelphi Theatre), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (international tour), Hamlet (Sheffield Crucible) and Ducking Out (Duke of York’s).

The award winning TV drama has been adapted for the stage by its creator and one of the UK’s most prolific writers, Mellor, whose extensive television credits include hit series of Band of Gold, The Chase, The Syndicate and In The Club.

The heartwarming romantic comedy follows a group of foodie friends who try every health fad and fitness trend around to shed the pounds.

Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or mayflower.org.uk