Busted star Matt Willis in Waitress at Mayflower Theatre

ADULTERY, unwanted pregnancy and domestic violence aren’t really the topics you expect to see in a feel-good musical – and yet that’s exactly what you get with Waitress, which opened at Mayflower Theatre last night (May 24).

Based on the 2007 movie, the show revolves around Jenna – a waitress and pie-maker who finds herself pregnant and trapped in an abusive relationship.

As Jenna struggles to overcome the challenges of her complicated life, with the help of her friends, Becky and Dawn, she finds herself on an emotional rollercoaster of tears, laughter, and the pursuit of happiness.

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And she takes the audience along for the ride.

The cast, and the ensemble, for the show are outstanding. Chelsea Halfpenny, who plays Jenna, is an absolute star. She delivers her character with pure emotion and passion, and her performance of She Used to be Mine was simply spectacular.

Matt Willis, of Busted fame, is Dr Pomatter in a role that is a far cry from his pop band days. His comedy timing and charm has the audience completely onside, despite the unfaithful character he plays.

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Wendy Mae Brown, who plays Becky, and Evelyn Hoskins as Dawn, give really strong backing performances, along with Michael Starke as Joe, Tamlyn Henderson as Earl and Christopher D. Hunt as Cal.

And what can I say about George Crawford as Ogie – his time on stage may have been short, but the laughter he provides is not, making him a firm crowd favourite, and one to watch in the future.

With music and lyrics written by the Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter sensation Sara Bareilles, Waitress has received multiple awards and nominations, and it’s easy to see why.

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Despite the sometimes dark and serious topics it covers, the show is not weighed down by them, instead it creates the perfect mix of raw emotion, music, and comedy that leaves you smiling from ear-to-ear, a truly deserved standing ovation!

Waitress runs until Saturday (May 28). Tickets are available from mayflower.org.uk or 02380 711811.

 

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