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BWW Review: NIGEL SLATER'S TOAST, OnlineAfter a successful run at The Other Palace and a national tour, Nigel Slater's Toast has become the latest theatre production to go online thanks to the Lawrence Batley Theatre and The Lowry. But unlike many productions, which are streaming as filmed performances, this show has been turned into a new animation work.

Nigel Slater's Toast is an online play - part radio play, part animated film. Written by Henry Filloux-Bennett, the show is based on Nigel Slater's award-winning biography. It vividly recreates his childhood, from his early beginnings making jam tarts with his mum and growing his own vegetables, to having cooking wars with new family members, his early beginnings as a chef, and, of course, toast.

The animation is stunning, using a combination of striking watercolour effects to both tell the story and showcase the beauty of food in Nigel's life in an incredibly visual and effective way. You never see the faces of the characters in the story, which, although an unexpected decision, adds to the feeling of being right in the centre of the action. From the very beginning, you're completely immersed in Nigel's world.

Playing Nigel is Giles Cooper, who took the same part in the West End production. His previous experience in this role, as well as his friendship with the real man himself, makes Cooper the perfect choice to bring Nigel to life in an audio form. His vocal talent is clear, as he slips from happy-go-lucky child to angsty teen with ease, and takes the audience on a real journey of emotions - and connecting with an audience who aren't in front of you can't be easy.

There are just five actors in total lending their voices to the characters, and they all do a fantastic job bringing them to life. Lizzie Muncey as Mum and Stephen Ventura as Dad are a believable parenting dynamic - complex and polar opposites in their individual characters, and providing some of the show's emotional highlights. Marie Lawrence's performance as Joan, who clashes against Nigel as she tries to enter the family, displays a perfect mixture of comedy and ruthlessness, so you can both love and hate her character, tapping into Nigel's own feelings with intelligence and heart.

Thanks to Jonnie Riordan's impressive direction, you'd never know that each part was recorded in isolation. The dialogue flows naturally, interactions are as seamless as they would be on stage, and you feel every high and low of everyone in the show as a result. Standout moments include the scenes which explains Dad's rules for eating at restaurants and buying sweets, an affecting dance scene with Nigel's mum, and a less-than-festive Christmas which changes Nigel's life overnight.

What makes this animation extra special is the little details. From the three-minute interval break to grab a cuppa in between acts and ingredients popping up alongside some of the dishes in the animation so you feel like you're learning along with Nigel, to the recipe cards that are sent to all ticket-holders, you become fully immersed in the delicious storyline. One piece of advice: buy yourself a Walnut Whip for the second half, as you'll be able to join in with the story even more!

Toast is available to listen or watch as an animation now until 31 July. Tickets are £10 (standard ticket) or £16 (theatre pack incl. a programme and Walnut Whip). You can choose to just listen to the broadcast or watch it. For more information, go to

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From This Author Eleni Cashell