Small-Town Waitress in the Big Town: King’s Theatre, Glasgow

Image Johan Persson

Title:
Waitress

From: 12 Apr 2022

To: 16 Apr 2022

Venue:
King’s Theatre
297 Bath Street
Glasgow
Glasgow & the Clyde Valley
G2 4JN

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Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, written by Adrienne Shelly, Waitress is the ultimate story about a small-town girl with big dreams. This musical has a rare all-women production team, with Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus as director, Grammy Award-winner Sara Bareilles as composer and lyricist, acclaimed Jessie Nelson as book adapter and Lorin Latarro as choreographer.

Image Johan Persson

The story centres around Jenna (played faultlessly by Chelsea Halfpenny), a very gifted baker working at a local dinner and trapped in an abusive marriage. While things get complicated when she falls for the charming new doctor, Dr. Pomatter (played by Matt Jay-Willis) this show has it all; laughter, seriousness and unforgettable musical scores. 

Image Johan Persson

The audience joins Jenna and her close friends Becky (Wendy Mae Brown) and Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) as they figure out life and the obstacles thrown their way. Together they face challenges and find laughter, love and friendship even in their darkest moments. The show does not stray away from delving into some serious issues such as domestic abuse and adultery but approaches this with a humour and lightness that will leave you feeling uplifted. 

Image Johan Persson

Chelsea Halfpenny and Matt Jay-Willis share a fantastic chemistry which shines through the whole show. You can not help but cheer for them and hope that they find happiness no matter what. Their duet Bad Idea is wonderfully executed as they literally dance (and sing) around their infidelity. Halfpenny has an incredibly strong voice that carries the show, and Jay-Willis is great as the neurotic Pomatter – completely smitten by the kind, engaging but troubled Jenna who can create magic with flour, sugar and butter. 

Image Johan Persson

Tamlyn Henderson does an incredible job of bringing to life Jenna’s abusive husband Earl and an uncomfortable feeling descends on the audience whenever he enters the stage. Wendy Mae Brown as Becky brings the audience to tears with her one-liners and clever jokes while Evelyn Hoskins as Dawn is impossible not to love. However, it is Scarlet Gabriel who steals the show as Nurse Norma who is an apologetical and hilarious witness of the affair between Jenna and Dr. Pomatter. All supporting cast members demonstrate excellent vocal abilities and superb comic timing and the whole wider ensemble is incredibly strong, making it all come together effortlessly. 

Image Johan Persson

The show is a perfect mixture of incredible performances, layered with interesting characters and sparkling wit. It is an intimate story of everyday life and the power of workplace friendships and the joy of baking. Full of baking puns, Waitress is never too cheesy or corny and sprinkles little nuggets of life-wisdom. The show ended with a standing ovation and cheers coming from every corner of the theatre.

Many thanks to Joanna Zuchowska for this review. Cast images: Dewynters.

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