Royal & Derngate, Northampton – until 15th January 2022
Reviewed by Ely King
Based upon the movie written by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress is a musical following waitress Jenna’s turbulent relationship, and the journey of her pregnancy with her two best friends by her side.
For the 10th and 11th January performances of Waitress, the role of Jenna is played by Aimée Fisher while Chelsea Halfpenny prepares to take over the role. If you can get a last-minute ticket for tonight’s show though, do it. Aimée is a force to be reckoned with – a true powerhouse.
Understudies are finally getting enough love in 2022 and it needs to be continued.
From beginning to end, this musical is an emotional rollercoaster, taking the audience through the troubles and turmoil throughout pivotal moments in the character’s lives.
Flanking Jenna’s sides are Becky and Dawn, brought to life by Sandra Martin and Evelyn Hoskins respectively, and brought to life they certainly are. Sandra’s Becky is loud, loving and boisterous, she’s that friend that will get you into trouble – but then also find a way to get you out of it. Evelyn’s Dawn starts off as a meek, awkward introvert, but blossoms into a character that truly matches her dating profile…
Ecstatically alive, fervently organised, dynamic, and witty.
Matt Jay-Willis as Dr. Pomatter is the new standard for celebrity casting. He performs the character with such passion, and manages to border that fine line of his character being anxious and jumpy but without it being weird or uncomfortable.
Whilst the main cast truly deserve all the love and accolades, there are two unsung heroes of the show, and they are Michael Starke as Old Joe and Scarlet Gabriel as Nurse Norma. Stark’s solo ‘Take It from an Old Man’ is a true tear jerker and gives Old Joe such a heart-warming turn in character. Scarlet Gabriel takes Nurse Norma to a new level. The actress’ comedic commentary and one-liners are priceless, giving much needed breaks in scenes and being an all-round fun character.
Alongside the cast, the band are always onstage and fully get involved in the storyline’s shenanigans. Including outfit changes, props, and the piano being used as a pie stand. They are the backbone of the show and were flawless from start to finish.
Not to forget Ogie. George Crawford plays Ogie’s persistently hopeless-romantic role extremely well. This happy-go-lucky character is a hard feat, but he masters it. Ogie’s carefree character is a breath of fresh air amongst the heavy themes some other characters are going through. Ogie and Dawn are a match made in heaven and watching their relationship blossom is adorable.
The pies truly take centre stage in this Musical. From end to end, the show uses actual dough and ingredients onstage to create the pies, adding a true immersion to the show that wouldn’t be created otherwise.
This musical is truly a must-see.
Whilst the show is mostly-family friendly, there are a few moments of more amorous antics alongside some innuendo-filled pie names, so please bare that in mind when taking children. It will most likely go over their heads, but is something best known about in advance.