(seen at the afternoon preview performance on 6th March 2019).
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