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Review: WAITRESS, UK & Ireland Tour

The musical is on the road, starring Lucie Jones

Review: WAITRESS, UK & Ireland Tour

Review: WAITRESS, UK & Ireland Tour Waitress, previously resident at The Adelphi in London, is off on a UK and Ireland tour, kicking off at the New Wimbledon Theatre. It's the tale of waitress and pie creator extraordinaire Jenna, who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant. But will this unwanted twist in her story keep her tied down in a bad relationship or give her the chance to break free?

In the title role is Lucie Jones, who first came to prominence on X Factor before moving on to many theatre roles and even taking a turn as the UK's representative for Eurovision in 2017. She makes a very relatable Jenna, and her vocal power is undeniable. Look up "11 o'clock number" in the online dictionary and I'm pretty sure you'll find a clip of her performance of "She Used to be Mine". Musically and lyrically beautiful, it's one of those rare showstoppers that actually stops the show.

There's a really solid supporting cast too. Tamlyn Henderson makes Jenna's husband Earl truly horrible - potentially violent, definitely controlling, and gaslighting her to the point that you want to hurl your programme at him. Hard.

Jenna's fellow waitresses and partners in crime are the infinitely sassy Becky (Sandra Marvin) and initially timid but latterly liberated - in every sense - Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins). Both provide some great comic moments to counterbalance some of the darker plot points.

Matt Jay-Willis has some really nice comic timing and just enough nerdy charm as Jenna's gynaecologist Dr. Pomatter.

George Crawford as Dawn's dorky suitor Ogie shines in a particularly scene-stealing number, and Michael Starke gives a beautifully rounded performance as the curmudgeonly but kind diner owner Joe.

Great credit also goes to MD Ellen Campbell and her musicians, who are on stage throughout and zip through Sara Bareilles music with aplomb. Although there aren't too many you'll-be-humming-it-on-your-way-home tunes, it's all pleasant on the ear and there are some lovely harmonies to enjoy.

Waitress touches on some unusual subjects for musical theatre - unwanted pregnancy and abusive relationships wouldn't typically be considered go-to topics for the genre - but this makes for an interesting and pleasingly quirky show that, in spite of its fairly simple book, pushes you to really root for its unassuming heroine.

Waitress is touring the UK & Ireland until 20 August, 2022

Photo credit: Johan Persson

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