Theatre review – Waitress the Musical at Manchester Opera House

Ensemble sing sugar, butter, flour with cake pans

Waitress is playing at Manchester Opera House till 20 November 2021 - Credit: Johan Persson

Pies, pies, and more pies. Never has a musical production left me craving a sweet treat than Waitress did.

Playing at Manchester Opera House, Waitress tells the story of Jenna, played by Lucie Jones, who is a waitress and expert pie-maker dreaming of creating some happiness in her life. When the new Dr Pomatter, played by Busted’s Matt Willis, arrives in town, life gets complicated. With affairs, a pregnancy, an unhappy marriage and few raunchy scenes, Waitress is a hilarious, witty, and sometimes poignant production.

Jenna whips up 27 different pies, including a new daily special which corresponds with what she’s feeling that day. When she begins her affair with the new doctor, she bakes a, I Wanna Play Doctor with My Gynaecologist Pie and when she discovers she’s pregnant, bakes a Betrayed by My Eggs Pie.

Jenna sits on a clinic bed and talks to a doctor in a white coat

When Jenna met Pomatter... - Credit: Johan Persson

Waitress The Musical doesn’t just focus on Jenna, but also on her fellow waitress friends, Becky, who ends up having an affair with diner cook Cal, and Dawn, the nerdy girl who is wooed throughout by fellow nerd Ogie. When Ogie hits the stage with the song, Never Getting Rid of Me, with his clog-dancing and magic tricks, he won the crowd over with everyone laughing and clapping at his over-zealous performance.

What I liked about this show, was even though the plotline was very predictable, with Jenna eventually leaving her husband and becoming the owner of the diner, the characters were all flawed and showcase their vulnerability and issues in a heart-warming way.

The musical is clearly set somewhere in America’s South as judged by the backdrops and the accents and though sometimes the accents were hard to keep up (Matt Willis’ singing did slip back to an English accent on a few occasions) I will commend Lucie Jones on both her accent and her incredible singing. When she sang She Used To Be Mine, it was met with a cheers and incredible applause.

Jenna and her fellow waitresses

Jenna and her fellow waitresses - Credit: Johan Persson

With a songbook written by Grammy award-winning Sara Barellis and a tribute to female solidarity, the musical is a great performance to see with the women in your life. I’m now going to find somewhere that makes delicious pies.

Waitress the Musical is on at Manchester Opera House until November 20,

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