London Theatre Review: Waitress starring Katharine McPhee at the Adelphi Theatre
| By Kay Johal
Who ate all the pies?
Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson’s Waitress is the latest Broadway musical smash to cross the pond and land at the Adelphi Theatre. Based on the 2007 film of the same name, it is an emotional rollercoaster in the name of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – so I went along for a slice of the action.
What the Waitress London musical is about
As already alluded to, perhaps what’s most striking about Waitress is how quintessentially and charmingly American the whole concept is – pies, a diner, and dreams of a more prosperous future; we’ve all been here or hereabouts before, right? Maybe this time it's slightly different...
Our waitress extraordinaire is Jenna Hunterson, a talented but in-so-many-ways trapped pie baker, somewhere in the deep American South. Faced with unenviable circumstances at home as well as work, she falls pregnant and in love – but not necessarily in the order you might think...
The Waitress West End cast in review
Stepping into Jenna’s lead apron is American Idol runner-up and Smash star Katharine McPhee, fresh from two prior stints in this show on Broadway last year. Her experience with the role shows – demonstrating vocals that are knock-your-socks-off powerful but also beautifully delicate where necessary. Given Jenna’s tumultuous character arc, perhaps McPhee could extract further nuance in places, but prepare to be bowled over by her show-stopping 11 o’clock number 'She Used to Be Mine' – easily the highlight of the whole score.
The company is further stuffed to its crust with supporting talent: Marisha Wallace (Becky) and Laura Baldwin (Dawn) deliver memorable showings as Jenna’s foils and fellow waitresses, while veteran West End leading man David Hunter makes a wonderfully goofy but endearing Dr. Pomatter.
Oven mitts down: Why you should see Waitress The Musical
Waitress really is a treat that you need to see for yourself. It is a thought-provoking, beautifully lit and staged production that will likely leave a tear in the eye of even the most stony-hearted. With Bareilles’s delightful melodies to fall back on (which the band, led by musical director Katharine Woolley, play so impeccably), this production is a sure-fire recipe for success. Order up!
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