REVIEW: Waitress

24th April & 28th May 2019
Adelphi Theatre

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress tells the story of Jenna. A waitress, working at Joe’s Pie Diner, stuck in an unhappy, abusive marriage. After Jenna discovers she is pregnant her life takes an unexpected turn when she embarks on an affair with her gynaecologist. Although she knows it will not be the answer to all her problems, it is the boost she needs to realise that she is worth so much more.

The show follows Jenna’s story through a variety of her specially created pies (Betrayed By My Eggs Pie anyone?!), seeing her eventually fulfil her dreams of running her own pie shop, named after her adorable daughter Lulu.

This show has all the right ingredients – a fantastic cast, great soundtrack and relatable storylines however, it did take me a little more than my initial visit for me to properly fall in love with this musical. On my first visit (yes, I’ve already been more than once!), I didn’t fully “get” this musical. A show that is a mixture of hard hitting storylines with a comedic script, I felt that it didn’t quite hit the note on either. But, after listening to the soundtrack on repeat, I was back at the Adelphi falling head over heels for this show!

Although the show may not initially have reeled me in, this superbly talented cast did. Knowing that Katharine McPhee was only to be in the role of Jenna for a few more weeks, and with Laura Baldwin soon to be taking a break from her role as Dawn, I knew I had to take the opportunity to witness their on stage magic again. I will forever be grateful to them both for drawing me back, as I was given a second chance to see this show for what it is – just wonderfully beautiful!

While the first time I saw the show, I thought that the ensemble was too large, the second time round I was able to fully appreciate what they added to the show – how they provided opportunities for interaction with the main cast, truly bringing Joe’s Diner to life, and how some of the moments which make the show truly magical, would not happen without them.

Although the songs, set and storyline ultimately make this show, it could not be what it is without the impeccable choreography of Lorin Latarro. The Butter, Sugar, Flour so often referenced, are not just figments of our imagination – they are really there, right there on stage. Pastry is made, rolled and crafted in front of our very eyes. Eggs are cracked one handed while the cast are mid song. Flour is sprinkled in the air carrying the hopes and dreams of the characters and the audience alike. This is all worked so seamlessly into the performance, made to look so easy that I almost forget how, whenever I crack an egg (using both hands!), I always feel I am at risk of having to spend the next few hours scrubbing down the kitchen!

The stand out moment for me, and the reason I wish I could keep going back again and again is Katharine McPhee’s performance of She Used to be Mine. The performance is stripped right back, Jenna standing alone on a completely bare stage, just her and the song, making it all the more poignant. The way Katharine commands the stage, and the whole theatre, while making it appear so effortless is something truly remarkable. This is one of those moments in theatre that everyone should have the joy of seeing, and one that I will never forget.

The theatre is not just limited to the auditorium – the whole of the Adelphi has jumped head first into Waitress! From the moment you walk into the theatre you are hit by the smell of freshly baked pies (an absolute dream!), you have the opportunity to pose within your very own (cardboard) diner and you are invited to leave your thoughts about the show on your own order sheet. That’s not forgetting the extra mile the Adelphi, with the help of the much loved Theatre Café, have gone to in offering the audience an alternative interval snack – anyone for pie?!

I would wholeheartedly recommend trying to catch this show, particularly with the original West End Cast but, with less than two weeks left until cast change, you better be quick! I look forward to seeing the reviews for the new cast but, for me, Katharine McPhee, Laura Baldwin and John McBrayer will always be my Jenna, Dawn and Oge!

Waitress is currently booking at the Adelphi Theatre until 19th October 2019

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