MUSICAL REVIEW: Waitress ★★★

Adelphi Theatre, London
Friday 8th February - Saturday 19th October 2019

Based on the 2007 movie featuring Keri Russell, Waitress  tellsthe story of Jenna Hunterson, the female protagonist and waitress at Joe’s Pie Diner, who soon finds she is pregnant with her controlling husband Earl, and evidentially finds herself torn between her ever growing love for Dr. Pomatter, who works at the Clinic in which she attends. In this london transfer from Broadway, Smash and Scorpion actress Katharine Mcphee takes on the role of Jenna, having already had a taste of the pie from her time overseas, and shines brightly on stage with energy and compassion flourishing throughout, with chemistry between David  bringshunter bringing  a charmfullness manner and sweet vocals to Dr. Pomatter, especially during ‘You Matter to Me’ and ‘Bad Idea’.

Marisha Wallace brings the laugh and Laura Baldwin delivers the sweetness, both respectfully as Becky and Dawn, Jenna’s best friends at the diner. The issue that I found with these two characters though were their subplots in the production, which are unfairly distributed and ultimately take away from Jenna’s story, to which Waitress is all about. Whilst Becky’s story is more played for comedic effect, Dawn’s side plot with Ogie, portrayed by Jack McBrayer, who personally gave a uneasy and often uncertainty to his performance, feels rushed and not like the character in which we originally meet at the top of the show, who is forever destined to be single.

Lorin Latarro choreographs at times some stunning and beautiful numbers, but sadly these moments fall short when they fail to become pivotal to the story in most cases, though the ‘Contraction Ballet’ at the climax of the piece is sheer and utter perfection with synchronized and breathtaking movements. Scott Pask’s design is joyful, with lots of colour and energy, bringing the diner to life with a huge neon sign and rotating pies around the proscenium arch, which cements the initial experience as soon as you walk into the Adelphi with the smell of pie, where you can buy exclusively from in the foyer. It’s Mcphee though, whose rendition of ‘She Used to be Mine’ which stops everything in its tracks, that clears the dread from the outside world, and will leave your jaw-dropping and eyes watering, as she brings the house down with a rapturous applause.

Overall, whilst the actors on stage bring to life Jessie Nelson’s fairly unequal script and Sara Bareilles music with conviction, certain character strands feel rushed and unnecessary, taking away the true message of the show from Jenna’s journey.


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