(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 6th March 2019). Some actors
have now left the cast.
The most surprising thing about this show is not that it boasts proudly of an
all-female creative team. No, the surprising thing is that an all-female
creative team managed to come up with such twisted material, and let it all go
without any attempt at exploration.
We get served a domestic abuse incident
only stopped by the word “pregnant,” and a male boss cutting a worker’s
emergency pre-natal appointment phone-call off mid-sentence. Both hostile acts against
women, neither remarked on, when the team had the showcase of an entire musical
to call it out as they could.
Instead, “Waitress” is pretty much 2 and a half
hours of vacuous nonsense. So heaving with ballads that even the weak
alternative faster numbers come as a relief. The storyline and approach are of
the C-grade American comedies British digital channels purchase to fill air-time.
The whole show crawls along for the first 20 minutes,
establishes the key story for an inanimate 5 (we are spared a song at that
point, thank goodness) then dribbles nothing much else until the curtain falls.
Women have always been more interesting characters than men on stage, and this
was a chance to really shine. Instead, they are ciphers and stereotypes, and
pretty often inaudible when singing, too. Katharine McPhee (Jenna) seemed bored with the role, strapping
on a plastic façade of enjoying it. Marisha Wallace (Becky) is consigned to a part
straight out of "1950s Central Casting," alas. Laura Baldwin (Dawn) is
the strongest of the
three, raising the odd giggle - something mostly missing elsewhere. The waitress outfits are a pretty shade, though.
Add in goofy
and irritating rather than endearing work from Jack McBrayer (Ogie) and David
Hunter (Dr Pomatter) and it’s a pretty excruciating event – too lazy even to
fill in the complete set for some scenes too, a first for the monkey in theatre.
There’s points scored for the hard-working chorus and on-stage band, and it’s
possible it’ll find a cult audience of women who find something they can relate
to - probably memories of watching the original movie during a "sleep-over" as
For anyone wanting a story of how strong and brilliant ladies really are, “9
to 5 The Musical” is playing just over the road and is a way better show in