Waitress The Musical started touring in September this year, having previously entertained audiences in the Adelphi Theatre, London’s West End and it is serving up a helping of “back to the theatre enjoyment pie” in Crawley’s The Hawth Theatre until the 25th.
Based on a book and 2007 film of the same name, Waitress tells Jenna’s and her fellow waitresses’ stories of love and dreams. Initially, unaware of the storyline, I thought it was going to be predictable and fairly weak as we followed Jenna in a now loveless marriage as she discovers she is pregnant early on in the first set. However, I was wrong and as the characters soon developed on stage the story reached deeper than that. What is love? What is important to us in relationships? And how love changes over time for things we didn’t even know were important to us….. This is not a lovey dovey story and touches on some adult content and scenes, there are quiet and thought provoking moments all gently baked up and served with plenty of fun, comedic and uplifting sides, all described through Jenna’s pie making titles and founded on a sugar, butter, flour base.
Set in a diner, Jenna, played by Lucie Jones of X Factor fame, is a pie maker looking to make changes in her life. Lucie gives a solid leading lady performance, and is very well supported by Sandra Mervin and Evie Hoskins as her waitress friends Becky and Dawn. Sandra has an amazing voice and her character is larger than life whilst Dawn requires some encouragement to find love and hits the comedic partnering with Ogie played hilariously by George Crawford.
The other males in the show play equally as important parts in the story; in the diner you have Joe as the owner ( Michael Starke) and Cal ( Christopher D Hunt) as the diner manager, whilst in Jenna’s outside of work life, Earl ( Tamlyn Henderson) is Jenna’s husband and Dr Pomatter ( Matt Willis) plays Jenna’s Obstetrician and love interest.
The stage hosts the band throughout the show and is exceptional, the music having been composed by Sara Bareilles, and it was good to them as part of the set. It felt appropriate to the setting but also to give the recognition to the musicians, as well as the actors and crew that have been unable to perform due to covid restrictions.
An extremely talented ensemble, supported the story and linked the musicality and flow of this show into a performance definitely worth returning to the theatre for. The production makes you feel entertained, thoughtful and grateful… it’s amazing What Baking Can Do.
Enjoy your slice of the pie at The Hawth until 25th and follow it on its UK tour throughout the coming months.
Reviewer: Julie Warwick