★★★★☆ | Waitress, Adelphi Theatre
An American musical about a waitress who bakes amazing pies to cope with life sounds too whimsical for words. You’d expect to come out of the theatre feeling more nauseated than if you’d eaten an oven full of apple pies with whipped cream. This belter of a show is a surprising gem, though. Yes, it’s feel-good and frothy with sections that play out like a sex comedy but it’s also poignant and achingly sad, at times.
Based on the 2007 indie flick, it’s the story of Jenna (Katherine McPhee), a small town diner waitress who’s unintentionally become pregnant by her abusive loser husband who she dreams of leaving. To complicate things further, she’s smitten with her obstetrician (David Hunter). It’s also a story of the power of female friendship, with her colleagues, ditzy virgin Dawn (Laura Baldwin) and fierce Becky (Marisha Wallace) supporting her in her dilemma.
Katherine McPhee is staggering with a voice that could shatter the hardest of heart as she belts out the repertoire of rock/folk songs by singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles. She’s amply paired with David Hunter as the likeable and unlikely heartthrob doctor. It’s a sweet rom-com with cracking music and a versatile set that sweeps you off to small-town America.
There’s nothing not to like here. The songs are great, if occasionally forgettable, the cast nail it and the story is watchable. It’s fun and occasionally thought-provoking. Well worth seeing.
Waitress plays at the Adelphi Theatre, until October 2019, Book Tickets Here
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.