Lucie Jones and Matt Willis shine in Waitress on opening night at The Hawth - review
There are two shows I saw in the West End which I feel I never got the full experience of for reasons out of my control.
This week I have got to revisit both shows - and I am very glad I did.
The first one was Everybody's Talking About Jamie. When my wife Amanda and I saw it in the West End, our experience was marred by fellow audience members who decided to let everyone very loudly they knew all the words to all the songs. Distracting and annoying.
The film of that show came out this week and we loved it and it has driven us to try and book tickets to see the stage show again.
The second show was Waitress. First of all I bought tickets for my wife's 40th birthday as a surprise. I also organised a load of friends to come with us to make it a bigger surprise. That was ruined a week before we went because someone let slip the surprise!
Secondly when we watched the show, I had a person front of me with the biggest top knot you have seen and I had to constantly move around to see what was happening in stage. So I never really took in the songs or the show - though I remember Jack McBrayer being very funny as Ogie.
So I was delighted to hear it was coming to the Hawth so I had a second chance at it. All I can say is that top knot has a lot to answer for.
The show, based on Adrienne Shelly's film starring Keri Russell and Nathan Fillion, came to England with a lot of hype after a sensation run in Broadway. Written by the Grammy award-winning Sara Bareilles is tells the story of Jenna (Lucie Jones), a waitress and expert pie-maker who dreams of some happiness in her life.
When a new doctor (played by Busted's Matt Willis) arrives in town, life gets complicated. With the support of her workmates Becky and Dawn, Jenna overcomes the challenges she faces and finds that laughter, love and friendship can provide the perfect recipe for happiness.
It is a heart-breaking, funny and uplifting show with some great performances. Jones nails the big moment with She Used to Be Mine and Willis is utterly charming as Dr Pomatter and shows great comic timing.
But it's not just about the headline stars - Sandra Marvin and Eveyln Hoskins as Becky and Dawn respectively have their moments to shine as the other waitresses, while George Crawford has great fun as Ogie ('The British are coming!).
Christopher D Hunt as Cal and Michael Starke as Old Joe are also good value - with the latter managing to bring a tear to this reviewer's eye.
The songs are great - the previously mentioned She Used to Be Mine is the stand out but Bad Idea, Take it From an Old Man and Opening Up are all memorable.
We have been hungry for big musicals to return to the Hawth and Waitress has the perfect recipe of great songs, big laughs and super performances. Make sure you grab a slice before it finishes!
- Waitress deals with some adult content and themes so discretion is advised for parents bringing children under age 13.
- Waitress is on until Saturday 25 September 7.30pm, with matinees on Wednesday and Saturday 2.30pm.
For more information and to book tickets, visit the Hawth website here.