A piece of the pie at Waitress the musical
It was a case of "more hot pies" as S and I headed to the theatre last night. No, not that sort of pies.
There was less human flesh and more human feeling on show at Waitress at London's Adelphi Theatre. The show is an adaptation of the 2007 film of the same name; it follows waitress Jenna, who has a job at a pie shop where her wondrous creations inspire friends and customers, but her life is stilted by an abusive marriage to no-hoper Joe and dreams of something bigger. All this is set to songs by Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles.
The show itself is not unlike the pies it promotes. It is a sweet and enjoyable experience. The story, even at its darkest moments, does not challenge too much and the sense that it will all be largely ok is never really upset. As with any great concoction, the key is the individual ingredients - Katherine McPhee is a charming and very watchable lead and I loved the supporting turns from Marisha Wallace as sassy best friend Becky, Stephen Leask as grumpy chef Cal and a superb turn from Shaun Prendergast as 'grumpy old man' Joe.
Those ingredients mesh beautifully at points too. McPhee and David Hunter's Dr Pomatter have an wonderfully awkward and then sizzling chemistry as they begin an affair and their moments of introspection and doubt before continuing really draw you in to the sense of two lost souls. McPhee's relationship with no-hoper husband Earl is also excellently laid out and Peter Hannah does a great job being little more than odious throughout.
However, I have to apologies to the cast and creative team, because the evening was stolen by one thing - the pies themselves. At the interval you can get your own pot pies at the bar, and it is the first time I have seen a longer queue for snacks than there is for the bar. It nearly matched the toilet queue.
Waitress is running for a while yet - and I suspect will be extended – so go for the hype, stay for the songs and story and make sure you enjoy the pie.
Shows of 2019 [I'll update the ranking as I see more]:
1. Waitress (The Adelphi)