Theater Critic: Waitress at the Royal Concert Hall

Based on the 2007 film by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress was born from an incredible female-led creative team, featuring a book by Jessie Nelson, direction by Tony Award winner Diane Paulus, and choreography by Lorin Latarro, all wrapped in music and lyrics by Grammy-winning Sara Bareilles that capture every moment perfectly. of this messy love story.

Jenna (Aimée Fisher) is a kind and brilliant but downtrodden pastry chef at a highway restaurant, trapped in an unhappy marriage. She dreams of leaving her “husband snake” for a happier life, but things get complicated when she finds out she’s pregnant with an unwanted baby – and even more so when she meets her new gynecologist, Dr. Pomatter (David Hunter).

Supported by fellow waitresses and best friends, Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) and Becky (Wendy Mae Brown), Jenna tries to manage her pregnancy while planning her escape from her husband, Earl (Tamlyn Henderson).

Fisher as Jenna (a last minute swap from Chelsea Halfpenny, who is unexpectedly indisposed) quickly gets a chance to show off the soft side of her voice in What’s insidewhich fits beautifully into the overall song Opening – you blink, and suddenly the previously simple staging has turned into a pie dinner. Perfectly choreographed, the main cast and ensemble move smoothly as they dance across the stage, pass ingredients to each other, or slide pies across the counter.

While Becky delivers fantastic moments of comic relief, sharp reminders of her reality are mixed in to make her feel real.

It’s absolutely no wonder Evelyn Hoskins reprized her role in Dawn from the West End production of Waitress. As an anxious story fanatic, Hoskins gets every move and facial expression. And then for his solo, when he sees me, she absolutely stuns, the little pie waitress suddenly filling the stage. Her blossoming relationship with passionate poet Ogie (George Crawford) is just as captivating as that of Jenna and Dr. Pomatter.

Wendy Mae Brown gets the chance to show off not only her voice but also the intricacies of her character in I didn’t plan it – there are no background characters in this show. While Becky delivers fantastic moments of comic relief, sharp reminders of her reality are mixed in to make her feel real.

David Hunter, another alumnus of the original West End production, is the perfect jerk as Dr Pomatter. Funny and kind, Hunter’s slightly slapstick doctor enjoys every time he’s on stage – especially during the frantic energy of his duet with Jenna in Bad idea. It’s not hard to see how Jenna would view it as an escape from her monotonous life and unhappy home.

Filled with moments of joy and melancholy, Waitress is a masterpiece of story, music and movement

The contrast between the different musical numbers also perfectly illustrates the relationships between the characters – the harmonies of Jenna, Dawn and Becky as they lean together and sync during A sweet place to landcompared to Earl’s mostly solo effort You will always be mine with Jenna’s accompaniment a forced and reluctant addition. And then we have Just a taste between Jenna and Dr. Pomatter, with all the goofy chemistry and the unexpected giddy of discovering something new and unexpected.

Fisher’s interpretation of the emotional She was mine is carried out to a few dry eyes; just as powerful in the quieter moments as the impressive theatrical notes. And with Everything changesthe climax of Jenna’s story could be compared to one of her most unusual pies – a little bittersweet, but absolutely satisfying.

Packed with moments of such great joy (Bad idea (Reprise), I love you like a table) and melancholy (Take it from an old man, dear baby), Waitress is a masterpiece of story, music and movement that is fun, moving and everyone will enjoy.

Waitress performs at the Royal Concert Hall from Monday July 18 to Saturday July 23. Tickets are available online

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