WAITRESS THE MUSICAL REVIEW – ADELPHI THEATRE, LONDON
12/03/20 – 7.30PM
Welcome to theatre week on The English Everygirl.
Following yesterday’s & Juilet review, theatre week continues with Waitress the Musical. This was the only show that I booked early as I knew I didn’t have Thursday evening plans. After its Broadway debut, I was keeping all my fingers crossed that it would make a West End transfer. I was gutted to miss Kat McPhee (I’m such a huge Smash fan so I adore her!) but excited to see how the soundtrack fit into the storyline.
Without furhter adieu, here’s my Waitress the Musical review:
Having been on my watchlist for a while now, I had planned for this to be the highlight of my London trip. Initially, I thought I would be seeing the return of Lucie Jones and David Hunter following Sara Bareilles and Gavin Creel’s short run. However, they extended by two weeks (in the end, it was only one week due to the C-virus) so it made me even more excited!
I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of Bareilles’ solo music and had no idea what she’d be like live. Creel’s theatre CV is extensive so I knew he would be an excellent choice. I was interested to see what their chemistry as a duo would be like.
This might be the first time I’ve ever seen a full cast and honestly, every member blew me away. Creel was the biggest standout for me: strong, sexy, hilarious, natural. He really became Dr Pomatter and you felt so at ease watching him act and sing. His voice is sublime with a beautifully, soft falsetto. I wish Dr Pomatter had more featured songs, just so we could hear him more! I’m still a bit mad at Bareilles for cutting out his solo song, Without a Believer, as it would’ve given us a little more backstory to his character.
Bareilles as Jenna was a really layered, intriguing character. Seeing her grow as a person through her pregnancy and stand up to her husband in the end, I really enjoyed her ending. Bareilles added the perfect mix of vulnerable and funny into Jenna’s character. Her rendition of She Used To Be Mine made my eyes water (even with my black heart) as she put her own spin on the song. I never realised just how natural her voice was; it was refreshing to hear a more contemporary voice in musicals, as many people just think musical theatre voices are super cheesy.
The other two leading ladies, NaTasha Yvette Williams (Becky) and Evelyn Hoskins (Dawn), made up for a strong female-fronted cast. Both played off against Bareilles’ Jenna perfectly and the three of them made such a rare, empowered trio. They were hilarious in some parts, caring in others, even harsh at certain stages. Each had a moment to shine, but I would’ve loved to have seen more of Becky’s story too. Williams is a sensational vocallist so deserved more solos!
The lyrics are what make Waitress; Bareilles’ has such a knack of storytelling songwriting that is so rare. Each song feeds into the story and what the characters at the time are feeling. You never feel like the song has been forced into the story, more of a natural transition. In fact, each song gives you more background into the character singing it.
I’m a sucker for a ballad, which Waitress has plenty of, but it also adds in some more upbeat numbers too. I wouldn’t say they’re dancey numbers but they’re certainly good to bop along too. One of my favourite things about the soundtrack is that the songs are really varied. The melodies are different to other musicals and although they’re not necessarily the highest notes to sing, the key changes and transitions are unusual. However, I love that they’re not ‘traditional’ musical theatre songs because it wouldn’t work with the show and they’re very true to Bareilles’ style.
I knew it would be one of the best West End shows I’ve seen but I wasn’t prepared to have all the feelings throughout the show. I howled with laughter, there were some tears and there were moments of shock. The chemistry between this entire cast, not just Bareilles and Creel, just shows how much fun this show must be and how much they enjoy it too!
Some funnier moments genuinely felt like they were unscripted or Creel must just struggle to keep his composure! It didn’t seem unprofessional as the scenes were naturally funny anyway. If they were scripted, kudos to the cast because it really did feel like they were just having a moment!
The only negative I had was that the programme hadn’t been updated for the arrival of Williams! She was only in her first week of performances though and it sounded like a last minute cast change as the announcement was very delayed.
Waitress the Musical is set to close in July but fingers crossed the theatres reopen before then. I’d love to see Jones and Hunter’s take on Jenna and Dr Pomatter so I’m already looking at booking another trip to the diner!
Did you enjoy my Waitress the Musical review? Have you seen the show? Which cast did you see?