Mar 8th, 2019
London is being blessed with an influx of great Broadway musicals this year. Making history in New York with an all-female creative team (with the score written by Grammy winner Sara Bareilles), Waitress is a loud and proud feminist dazzler, full to the brim with heartbreaking solos, hilarious performances and a good dash of sisterhood. Telling the story of Jenna, a small-town diner waitress with an aptitude for baking, Bareilles' Waitress is a musical about self-discovery and the healing power of friendship.
Katharine McPhee astounds as leading lady Jenna. At the risk of being just a pretty face with a wholloping set of pipes, McPhee gives Jenna some bite and transforms her from a forgotten waitress to self-assured powerhouse. Flanked by Laura Baldwin (a star on the rise!) as geeky and loveable Dawn and Marisha Wallace as the straight-talking and confident Becky, Waitress boasts of a triple whammy of leading ladies. Each with their own 'thing' Baldwin, Wallace and McPhee compliment each other, with chemistry so tangible I wanted to join them on stage and suggest grabbing some post-show cocktails.
Although the women are the stars of this tuner, David Hunter as Dr Pomatter and Jack McBrayer as Ogie make fine supporting actors.
Waitress is achingly funny (although perhaps not one to bring your under 15's to), an intelligently comedic and heartfelt feel-good hit. And let's not forget the 19 original and simply fantastic musical theatre bangers which punctuate the action wonderfully.
However, it isn't all light and laughs. The dark edge comes in the form of Peter Hannah as Earl, Jenna's controlling husband. It must be hard to be the most hated man on the stage but Hannah does an excellent job of bringing the musical back down to earth, giving us a slice of heart-wrenching reality.
Simplistic yet interesting in design, Scott Pask serves up the perfect idea of the all-American diner (complete with hundreds of pies adorning the proscenium arch)! A pair of stainless steel trolleys do a lovely job of moving us through the action and aid in highlighting the areas where Jenna feels free and where she feels trapped.
A musical that is an equal mix of light and dark Waitress will leave you with tears in your eyes, a laugh on your lips and joy in your heart. And if you need any more convincing, the foyer is filled with the tantalising smell of sweet treats, ushers are dressed in full diner attire and the interval snacks are cakes, giving you a totally immersive experience!
View our show pages for more information about Waitress, Theatre Royal Brighton.
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