This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw Waitress at the invite of Birmingham Hippodrome.
For BrumHour’s Interval Theatre, Wendy Mae Brown talked about joining the UK Tour of Waitress.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains scenes of inferred domestic violence and sexually implied scenes.
Review: Waitress at Birmingham Hippodrome
A stunning musical
Directed by Diane Paulus, Book by Jessie Nelson with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles
After discovering she is pregnant by her controlling boyfriend, waitress Jenna (Chelsea Halfpenny) decides to bake her way out of her situation. That is until she meets her new doctor James Pomatter (Matt Jay-Willis) and sparks fly!
Mostly set over ten months, Waitress covers a time of huge change for all the characters we see at this American South pie shop/diner. For Jenna’s fellow waitresses, Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) and Becky (Wendy Mae Brown), love is also in the air particularly for Dawn as she meets Ogie (George Crawford) via a newspaper singles section. (There are no mobile phones so this could be the late 80s or early 90s.)
Through most of the show Evelyn Hoskins, Wendy Mae Brown and George Crawford battle for who is the best scene stealer, but when Chelsea Halfpenny belts out the numbers, it becomes clear that this is Jenna’s story all along. Matt Jay-Willis has a slightly wandering accent during longer dialogue, but his sense of humour, physical movement and great vocals are what he’s here for, and being utterly charming (Obviously!).
I wouldn’t have chosen to see this production myself, I knew nothing of the film or the musical’s Broadway debut, but my plus one’s insistence proved me totally wrong. This was a great production with stand out moments.
The scene changes are smooth, swift and effortless looking, which means along with all the PIE CHOREOGRAPHY! (I can say that again…) PIE CHOREOGRAPHY this is a complex show with lots and lots of equipment used on stage. The small box space that Jenna lives in contrasts with the open road that appears when she spends time with Dr Pomatter or the brightness of his office.
Some audience members could find the serious domestic violence themes in one scene followed by comedy as a sharp turn, it feels very Broadway to me in that respect and this is really a cultural difference I see between West End productions and Broadway based ones.
This is a stunning musical that feels very today despite it being set in the last century. An uplifting slice of American life, Waitress is at Birmingham Hippodrome until 21st May 2022.
The UK and Ireland Tour of Waitress currently continues until 20th August 2022. See more details here: waitressthemusical.co.uk. See what is coming up at Birmingham Hippodrome here: birminghamhippodrome.com/whats-on.