“London doesn’t have another offering quite like this on the menu”
When ‘Waitress’ was announced to be transferring to the West End, everyone was suddenly hungry for pie! Having been on Broadway since 2016, some even wondered whether the UK would get to see this ‘sweet’ show grace to London stage. Now, that day has come and the hype leading up to it has been nothing short of perfect. Musical theatre fanatics across the country are ready to see the story of Jenna, a waitress who finds herself stuck at a moment in her life, in a perfectly polished story.
Based on the 2007 Adrienne Shelly film of the same name, Waitress introduces us to Jenna a talented pie-maker, currently waiting and suffering in an abusive relationship. When Jenna finds herself pregnant, she tries her hardest to get out of her seemingly dead-end situation through a pie-contest with a grand prize. In the midst of all this, she also ends up having an affair with her gynaecologist! Though, what is perceived as a ‘light and fluffy’ rom-com is actually a strong feminist piece of theatre…still a little light and fluffy though, in parts.
Katharine McPhee (American Idol and television’s SMASH) plays Jenna after a successful run on Broadway. McPhee is brilliant in this role and adds specific nuances and vulnerability to Jenna that makes her all the more relatable and likeable. David Hunter, now one of the West End’s regular leading males, plays Dr Pomatter and shows a new and ridiculously goofy side to him – it’s a highlight and Marisha Wallace’s Becky is a freakin’ hoot!
The music, by Sara Bareilles, gifts the show pleasantly, with the stand out torch ballad ‘She Used To Be Mine’ still ringing in the ears as we leave the auditorium. The show is a Broadway first – an all-female creative team and it should be celebrated as well as recognised for its success.
Cynical about whether Waitress has enough depth to it, it eventually wins you over and shows that it works in London. Does it make as powerful of a splash as it did on Broadway? No. But it doesn’t need to. It’s a fun-loving musical that can tempt in the theatregoers and win over the hearts of many. London doesn’t have another offering quite like this on the menu – so see it whilst it’s still fresh out of the oven and piping hot!
Words: Tomm J Ingram