ANYONE who has faced the dreaded slimming club weigh-in will be familiar with the frantic ritual of peeling off clothes and jewellery prior to stepping on the scales.

It’s a scenario captured beautifully in Fat Friends the Musical's hilarious Fosse pastiche, Step Up. Nervously awaiting their turn, the Super Slimmers bringing a touch of jazz-hands Chicago to a church hall weigh-in. It’s laugh-out-loud stuff, like much of this fun stage adaptation of Kay Mellor's much-loved TV comedy drama.

Frothy, sugary and a bit naughty, it’s theatrical comfort food. From the moment the curtain rises on a row of wobbly bottoms, shaking along to a Zumba workout, we’re in for a generous serving of Northern humour, sprinkled with feelgood warmth and a layer or two of romance.

I first saw the show at its Leeds premiere last autumn, and felt there were too many parochial references to Mellor’s beloved city for it to appeal to audiences nationwide. It has since been tweaked and tightened, with some great new numbers, and is overall a more entertaining show.

Featuring writer and director Mellor’s trademark wit and poignancy, the musical centres on bride-to-be Kelly, whose heart is set on a wedding dress that’s several sizes too small. Persuaded by her mother, champion slimmer Betty, to join Super Slimmers, Kelly ends up a social media sensation, taking a dangerous route to weight loss.

With Bretta Gerecke's vibrant cartoon-like set and a catchy score by Nick Lloyd Webber, the show is frothy on top, with a strong message beneath - love yourself the way you are. Kelly is happy with her size, but succumbs to dieting under pressure. Her fiance Kevin adores her, wobbly bits and all. Meanwhile, Betty is mysteriously piling the pounds back on, and neurotic Super Slimmers leader Lauren has her own body issues.

There are some lovely numbers; not least Chocolate - a fabulously funny homage to the sensual pleasures of choccy treats -

and the bittersweet What Happened. A terrific cast is headed by Jodie Prenger, a class act as feisty Kelly, and Bradford actress Natalie Anderson, excellent as Lauren, the bridal boutique owner struggling to find her own Mr Right. Sam Bailey and Kevin Kennedy were delightful as Kelly's parents, and Rachael Wooding is a comedy scene-stealer as her sister.

Great performances too from Neil Hurst as hapless Alan, Jonathan Halliwell as kindly Paul, Laura Mansell as catty, scheming slimming boss Julia Fleshman and Chloe Hart as TV journo Val.

Can cricket hero Andrew Flintoff act, or even hold a tune? Well, yes to both. He delivered a charming performance as bumbling but endearing Kevin.

Like a sugary cream doughnut, Fat Friends the Musical is naughty - but nice.

* Runs until Saturday.