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BWW Review: TOAST at 59E59 Entertains with Stark Realism

59E59 Theaters is hosting the US premiere of TOAST through May 22nd as part of the Brits Off-Broadway festival. Written by Richard Bean and directed by Eleanor Rhode, the show is a humorous, yet intensely realistic depiction of factory life and the diverse group of men who share their workdays. TOAST is loosely based on Bean's experiences working at a bread factory in Hull when he was 18 years old, an experience that helped him to capture his subject perfectly.

In TOAST, it is a Sunday night shift at the Rosedale Street Bake House. There is the smell of bread baking and the noise of the industrial machines drones on while the seven men who work there periodically visit the factory's break room to eat, have a smoke, play cards or call home. With a last minute order to fill for an additional 3,000 loaves, the ovens are cranked up to full blast. But when a mechanical crisis hits the factory, tension mounts and the men realize that they have a lot to lose including their livelihoods and the day-to-day relationships that have been built up over the years. They must stand shoulder to shoulder and determine the best course of action, even if it is a dangerous one.

The stellar cast of TOAST features some of Britain's most celebrated actors in a collective performance that is absolutely compelling. They deliver the glib male banter seamlessly. The play showcases an intriguing variety of relatable characters, young and old alike. The cast includes Will Barton as Colin; Simon Greenall as Cecil; Matthew Kelly as Nellie; Kieran Knowles as Dezzie; Steve Nicolson as Blakey; Matt Sutton as Peter and John Wark as Lance.

The creative team that brings TOAST to life on the New York stage includes set design by James Turner; lighting design by Mike Robertson; composition and sound design by Max Pappenheim and costume design by Holly Rose Henshaw.

See TOAST while it is at 59E59 Theaters. It is an entertaining and appealing show that brings a real sense of humanity to the stage with an excellent depiction of the working class and their realities.

TOAST is produced by Snapdragon Productions, in association with Jagged Fence Theatre. It is on a limited engagement through Sunday, May 22. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters is located at 59 East 59th Street (between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $70 ($49 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or visit www.59e59.org.

Photo Credit: Oliver King



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