Waitress UK Tour Review - Mayflower Southampton

Heading to local theatres straight from the West End, Waitress is a show that is taking the UK by storm, one slice of pie at a time. Based on the film of the same name, this musical has been adapted by the legendary Sara Bareilles into a sweet show that covers serious topics such as domestic abuse and adultery, but is packed full of comedy, drama, and superb singing. 

As part of its tour it has now opened up at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton and Max and I couldn't wait to see the show. It was one of the last shows that I had seen pre-lockdown and the songs were still in my head to this day. 

Waitress follows the story of Jenna (Chelsea Halfpenny), a young woman who is stuck in a failing and abusive marriage to a man that loves drinking more than her. When she finds herself pregnant she doesn't want to be stuck in this endless cycle of misery and ends up beginning an affair with her doctor, Dr Pomatter (Matt Willis) and looking for any way out of the life she is currently in. With the support of her two best friends Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) and Becky (Wendy Mae Brown) she is encouraged to enter a pie making contest with the hope of winning and using the money to escape the future she doesn't want to end up in. Of course life is never as easy as making pie though, and it takes more than a bit of baking for Jenna to discover her dreams. 

Chelsea Halfpenny steps into the starring role of this show and honestly she was nothing short of incredible. The emotion that she conveyed throughout the show showed a brilliant mix of vulnerability and strength that is admirable and awe inspiring. Her rendition of 'She Used To Be Mine' had the audience captivated and I will be perfectly honest, had me with tears in my eyes. Her performance is worth the price of the ticket on its own. 

Joining Chelsea to create the brilliant female trio is Evelyn Hoskins (Dawn) and Wendy Mae Brown (Becky). Both playing fellow waitresses that have their own share of problems, but through forged friendships find their own versions of happiness. Wendy portrayed a brilliant Becky, with the perfect blend of comedy and honesty, she took to this role as if it was made for her. I am fortunate to have seen Evelyn in this role in the West End and I honestly cannot think of anyone better to play the slightly goofy and quirky Dawn, matched perfectly with her beau Ogie, who was played by George Crawford. Both complimented each other perfectly and their on stage dynamics were comedic yet sincere. 

Matt Willis took to the role of Dr Pomatter, the new to town doctor that begins an affair with Jenna throughout her pregnancy. Most commonly a household name for being in the band Busted, Matt has shed his boyband persona to create a character that is both complex and awkwardly charming. His duet of 'Bad Idea' with Jenna is nothing short of electric. 

Joining the leads is a fantastic ensemble of supporting characters including Tamlyn Henderson as Earl, the abusive husband who to a testament to his acting, makes you feel uncomfortable in any scene that he is on stage. I must also applaud the absolutely hilarious Scarlet Gabriel as Nurse Norma who arguably stole the show in any scene she made an appearance in as she interrupts Jenna and Pomatter's encounters throughout the show. 

Waitress is a show that is sensitive and hilarious, but laced with brilliant songs throughout. Each character is multi layered, each song pairs perfectly with the next and all of a sudden the cast are taking their bows and you realise that over two hours has flown by without you realising. It had the audience on their feet and applauding and I almost felt that there could have been a standing ovation after every song in the show. It is a show that whilst it covers serious subjects, it does so in a way that allows the light to fall in with the dark, allows the happiness to shine through the sad, and allows the audience to see that happy endings come in all different slices of pie. Waitress is a marvel of a show baked up in a beautiful pie and  each character and song adds to the perfect ingredients list. 

Waitress is on at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton until 28/05/2055 and then continuing on a UK tour. Tickets for Southampton are selling fast, so you might have to move fast to grab a slice of this show. It's got an age rating of 13+ due to some adult themes (and one particularly hilarious yet graphic song that had Max hide behind his hands slightly embarrassed) and sensitive topics, so please head down with kids at your discretion. 

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