Sara Bareilles’ hit musical is baked to perfection with the perfect ingredients: heart, humour and a whole lot of pie – ★★★★★
Something is in the air at London’s Adelphi Theatre. If it’s not the pleasant smell of pie which lingers in the foyer and auditoria, then it’s the love and romance at the heart of the West End’s latest Broadway transfer, Waitress.
Smash‘s Katharine McPhee is the creative piemaker longing for a better life beyond working at a diner in a small town and living with an abusive husband (powerfully portrayed by Peter Hannah), in the hit musical based on Adrienne Shelly’s 2007 film of the same name.
Steered by an all-female creative team (a West End first), Diane Paulus’ direction and Lorin Latarro’s choreography mix together with dreamy results, with the cast breezing through Scott Pask’s vibrant set designs as they float through Bareilles’ catchy and imaginative numbers – from the emotional, stripped-back and acoustic (Take It From An Old and the incredible She Used to Be Mine, where McPhee delivers a moving and sensational performance) to the harmonic and powerful (Opening Up).
It’s a particular charm which makes the more corny and cringeworthy humour acceptable in the wider sweetness of it all. Dr Pomatter (David Hunter) and particularly Olgie (Jack McBrayer) – a love interest for Jenna’s co-worker Dawn – are the notable comic roles, with McBrayer giving passionate and enthusiastic renditions of the hilariously nonsensical songs Never Ever Getting Rid of Me and I Love You Like A Table.
McBrayer’s portrayal of the lovable Olgie is one on parallel with Lauren Baldwin’s Dawn. Baldwin, who recently played Janey in the equally quirky musical Eugenius!, shows she’s no stranger to fun, larger-than-life characters. And if the sweetness ever gets too much for some, Marisha Wallace’s feisty and sassy take on fellow co-worker Becky is enough to keep the pace fresh.
Heavenly and tremendously upbeat, Waitress is the high-speed sugar rush musical that’s so incredibly moresome.
This review is of a preview performance. Waitress is now playing at the Adelphi Theatre until 19 October.
Production Images: Johan Persson.
Disclaimer: I attended this show for free as a plus one, after they won a competition for free tickets to the show. I was not expected to write a review and the opinions in this piece are honest and my own.