The first show of the autumn season at this Lancaster theatre is a truly home grown affair.
Its writer and star is Sue McCormick, Preston born, living in Lancaster for 20 years, in a story that tells all about her life as a plus sized actor and is set just over the county border in the Lake District.
She penned it some years ago then stuck the script in a drawer and forgot about it until commissioned by The Dukes to come up with some original work.
And its move from paper to stage has been largely successful.
The story is a dramatised version of how Sue herself has been pigeon holed into ‘fat girl’ roles by casting directors with narrow vision and comments on 21st century fixation with a certain look, obsession with celebrity and the misogynistic tearing apart of women and girls based on their ‘failure’ to live up to a perceived perfection.
Although a sombre feminist lecture this is not. Along the way there’s laughs, songs, pathos, romance and a little sauciness, oh and a 200 year dead classic poet drops by too.
Sue herself says No Fat Juliets is not a musical, but is a play with songs, and there are quite a few numbers along the way. Standout being Fat Girl Blues, big in staging, subject matter and power.
She wrote the lyrics and John Newman-Holden wrote and arranged the music. It’s a winning combination and the cast can belt them out with gusto.
Said cast is six strong, quite a large one by Dukes standards, only Kieran Buckeridge having the double up as delightfully dim pub local Tom and a succession of those tunnel visioned casting directors.
There were moments when the pace stalled but as the run continues and the cast find their rhythm this could make a future classic comedy.
No Fat Juliets continues at The Dukes until October 12 and transfers to the Oldham Coliseum from October 15 - 26.