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Waitress


Adelphi Theatre

The Strand, London WC2R 0NS 020 3725 7068

Waitress
  • Synopsis
  • Theatremonkey show opinion
  • Theatremonkey seat opinion
  • Reader reviews
  • Performance schedule
  • Ticket prices

Jenna sells excellent pies. Can a county contest and a new love make it happen? A transfer for this hit Broadway musical by Sara Bareilles and Jessie Nelson. 

24th February 2020 will have a "Cast Karaoke" event following the performance.

 

(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 kids.

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 every way.

2 stars.

Legacy reader reviews

We had our tickets upgraded to really great central front stalls seats :) Really really enjoyed it and Katherine Macphee and the whole cast were brilliant!
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We had had booked for months was Waitress. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. We did see it with the original cast in New York, so perhaps we were spoilt. I just felt the performances lacked energy and depth and emotion in a couple of songs in particular.

Jack McBrayer as Ogie – well, let’s say I don’t understand the casting.
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No spoiler (especially if you’ve seen Adrienne Shelly’s charming 2007 film starring Keri Russell), in saying the show is about Jenna, a waitress and expert pie maker, who is planning to take part in the annual pie contest… only for life to take an unexpected turn when she finds out she is expecting.

A number of professional critics commented how Jenna’s character is almost bland in the first few scenes. Remember, this is someone that has had the life ground out of them by a bully of a husband, a job that doesn’t appreciate her (she makes 27 pies a day AND serves). It isn’t until her news sends her to the Surgery where she meets new her doctor, Doctor Pomatter, that life throws her a glimmer of light. And as the show progresses, so does Jenna, as she grows and finds hope.

There is much humour in this show. Jenna and Dr Pomatter’s affair - each move dictated by a new pie (my favourite being “Dark Chocolate With The Lights Out” pie) - is energetic and hysterical. Fellow waitress Becky has the pick of the dry putdowns, and shy, geeky Dawn is all sweetness… and how that changes once ‘5-minute date’ Ogie comes into her life had the audience in stitches.

But Waitress doesn’t forget the darkness: Earl, Jenna’s bullying husband. Much credit goes to Jessie Nelson, who stops just short of the violence - suggestion speaks volumes and is so effective. I know The Monkey sees this as an opportunity missed, but to me it was more powerful giving the hint of what happens behind closed doors.

Sara Bareilles’ songs are uplifting, funny, moving and of course “She Used To Be Mine” has already lifted itself out of the show and become a mainstream hit. 

Having fallen in love with Katherine McPhee (as a performer) in ‘Smash’, I have waited a long time to see her in person. And the wait was worth every moment. She is funny, kind, vulnerable and strong. And her voice; when she sings the aforementioned ‘She Used To Be Mine’, her quiet, but emotion-filled rendition had the theatre pin-drop quiet… in contrast to the explosion of applause when she ended the number (wise move to have a dance-led number as the next segment to allow the audience to calm down - I really thought they were going to have to stop the show).

I’ll quickly also praise David Hunter’s Dr Pomatter: awkward, shy, socially inept. Marisha Wallace is scything as Becky, Laura Baldwin is sweetly charming as Dawn. I was worried about Jack McBrayer as Ogie, but he turned out to be fun, all rubber-limbs and quirkiness. But the entire cast deserves praise for their performance, this is a fine ensemble.

Praise also to the set design. It switches from diner to surgery to Jenna and Earl’s house in moments, beautifully done.

To me, Waitress is a big slice of joy."

Seat Review: Adelphi Theatre, Upper Circle, L16 and L17: Great view, you’re close enough to pick up on every expression. And just the smallest sliver of front stage is lost (no-one would be standing there). But the seats are small. And cramped. And could do with better springs. Sit here and expect to need to fidget. 
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I saw this on Broadway last year but this was a far better production. Katharine McPhee was terrific. This is a lovely show, light and very funny with a few serious points to make. Some good songs and a couple of great ones. Unfortunately we say it two days after Come From Away and it simply can’t compare. 
Sat in E10 and 11. Good legroom again. Decent sightlines but had to do a bit of head-bobbing. Two rows in front, and fortunately not immediately in front of us, there was a woman with a MASSIVE hairdo, all her hair piled on top of her head, adding about ten inches to her height. It was like sitting behind a man in a top hat. DON’T DO THIS, LADIES!!!!!! The poor people sitting behind her moved in the interval.
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The show was good...but I had some serious problems with it, namely with the way they deal with the domestic violence themes. Thoroughly enjoyed McPhee's performance, however.
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Lucky enough to see "Waitress" from the front row in preview week. Brilliant show.
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There has been a lot of hype for this show which I felt it largely lived up to. Unlike the monkey, I felt the lack of energy in Kathryn McPhee’s performance at the start was due to her playing a run down broken waitress in a dysfunctional relationship. There is certainly more passion in the second act building to a moving rendition of She Used To Be Mine. The smell of pies was also fun and made the (expensive- £7!) mini pies irresistible. It’s overall an enjoyable and uplifting night out. 
Seat review: Dress circle D32 and 33. Great seats sold at restricted view because over to the side. However, you don’t miss anything and there is no safety rail so overall an excellent view. 
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Queue long so just missed out on day seat. Got stalls W14 instead for £35 which turned out to be a good seat, comfortable with 2 spare seats next to me and no seat behind (restriction by a tiny corner of the sound booth but nothing happened on the stage at all in the corner.) I quite enjoyed it but definitely nothing special - I would rate it the same as '9 to 5.' 
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Wednesday evening, 24th April 2019. Brought down from the Upper Circle to front row Dress Circle. Nice!

A funny, camp movie diminished and obscured by over-production. Yes, she's got a big voice. There's a big '11-o-clock' ballad which seemed to hit the mark with many of the audience, but, as in many of the songs, no-one in my group was able to make out many of the words so it rather passed over our heads.

If Jack McBrayer hadn't had his big scene just before the interval, I'd probably have left. But, thoroughly OTT as it was, it gave hope that there just might be some fun to come. And, to an extent, there was. But it's all rather a mess. And, with no disrespect to the musicians, who played what they were given faultlessly, it's a long time since a West End band hasn't given me a 'Wow!' moment or two.

Perhaps it's a Woman's Thing. No, that's not a good enough excuse - I enjoyed the movie. The pie's just half-baked.
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Current production/cast update.

I prefer Lucie Jones’ take on Jenna. Where Katherine McPhee’s version was downtrodden by her abusive husband and the demands of her life, Jones’ Jenna still, somehow, holds on to her compassion and hope. And the warmth than oozes from her when she’s chatting to Dr Pomatter at the bus stop? If you were wearing a jumper you’d need to take it off. You know when the audience has warmed to the actors when they get a laugh from corpsing - and Lucie and David Hunter did do with 'Dark Chocolate With The Lights Out Pie" (you'll know what I mean if you've seen the show) everyone was smiling before breaking into laughter.

The ‘controversial’ casting of “YouTube sensation” Joe Sugg as Ogie? From what I saw, he earned his part by right. His comedy timing was spot on and he handled his one big song without any problems. I’m not a fan of ‘celebrity casting’, but if this is helping the show extend (Waitress seems to have become ‘The Little Show That Is Closing… But Never Does’), then surely keeping all these people employed is a good thing?

Bob Pickett.
 

The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.

Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

Runs 2 hours 45 minutes approximately.

 

Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.

Monday to Friday "Off Peak" dates
Stalls

rows A to S (except "Premium Seats" and Restricted View Seats): £72.50
Premium seats rows F to J 10 to 27, K to M 11 to 26: £125 or £105 or £87.50 
"Restricted View" seats rows D and E 4, 5; D 31, 32; E 32, 33: £62.50
"Restricted View" seats rows B and C 6, 7; B 30, 31; C 31, 32: £52.50
rows AA, U to W: £62.50
row X: £52.50

Dress Circle
rows A to L (except "Premium Seats" and "Restricted View" seats): £72.50
Premium seats rows A 14 to 27; B and C 13 to 26; D and E 17 to 20: £125 or £105 or £87.50
Rows M and N: £62.50
Rows O and P: £52.50
restricted view seats A 8; D 4, 5, 32, 33; E 3, 4, 33, 34: £62.50
restricted view seats A 6, 7; B 5, 6; C 4, 5, 34, 35: £52.50
restricted view seats A 32 and 33; B 33, 34: £39.50

Upper Circle 
rows A to D (except restricted view seats): £52.50
Restricted view row B 5, 6, 33 and 34; C 6, 7, 35 and 36; D 3, 4, 35, 36: £19.50
rows E to H (except restricted view seats): £39.50
Restricted view row E and F 3, 4, 35 and 36, G 4, 5, 35 and 36; H 4, 5, 36, 37: £29.50
Rows K to N: £29.50 except
Restricted view row J; K 13 to 22; M 5 to 9, 25 to 27; N 6 to 9, 25 to 29: £19.50
Row O: £19.50

Boxes
B and C: £62.50 per seat if sold.

Monday to Friday "Peak" dates
Stalls

rows A to S (except "Premium Seats" and Restricted View Seats): £75
Premium seats rows F to J 10 to 27, K to M 11 to 26: £127.50 or £107.50 or £90 
"Restricted View" seats rows D and E 4, 5; D 31, 32; E 32, 33: £65
"Restricted View" seats rows B and C 6, 7; B 30, 31; C 31, 32: £55
rows AA, U to W: £65
row X: £55

Dress Circle
rows A to L (except "Premium Seats" and "Restricted View" seats): £75
Premium seats rows A 14 to 27; B and C 13 to 26; D and E 17 to 20: £127.50 or £107.50 or £90 
Rows M and N: £65
Rows O and P: £55
restricted view seats A 8; D 4, 5, 32, 33; E 3, 4, 33, 34: £65
restricted view seats A 6, 7; B 5, 6; C 4, 5, 34, 35: £55
restricted view seats A 32 and 33; B 33, 34: £45

Upper Circle 
rows A to D (except restricted view seats): £55
Restricted view row B 5, 6, 33 and 34; C 6, 7, 35 and 36; D 3, 4, 35, 36: £25
rows E to H (except restricted view seats): £45
Restricted view row E and F 3, 4, 35 and 36, G 4, 5, 35 and 36; H 4, 5, 36, 37: £35
Rows K to N: £35 except
Restricted view row J; K 13 to 22; M 5 to 9, 25 to 27; N 6 to 9, 25 to 29: £25
Row O: £25

Boxes
B and C: £65 per seat if sold.

Saturday "Off Peak" dates
Stalls

rows A to U (except "Premium Seats" and Restricted View Seats): £77.50
Premium seats rows F to J 10 to 27, K to M 11 to 26: £150 or £125
Premium seats row C 12 to 26; D 10 to 26; E 10 to 27; N to P 11 to 26: £99.50
"Restricted View" seats rows D and E 4, 5; D 31, 32; E 32, 33: £67.50
"Restricted View" seats rows B and C 6, 7; B 30, 31; C 31, 32: £57.50
rows AA, V and W: £67.50
row X: £57.50

Dress Circle
rows A to M (except "Premium Seats" and "Restricted View" seats): £77.50
Premium seats rows A 14 to 27; B and C 13 to 26; D to F 17 to 20: £150 or £125
Premiums seats row A 12, 13, 28, 29; B and C 11, 12, 27, 28; D 11 to 16, 21 to 26; E 13 to 16, 21 to 24; F 15, 16, 21, 22; G and H 17 to 20: £99.50
Rows N and O: £67.50
Row P: £57.50
restricted view seats A 8; D 4, 5, 32, 33; E 3, 4, 33, 34: £67.50
restricted view seats A 6, 7; B 5, 6; C 4, 5, 34, 35: £57.50
restricted view seats A 32 and 33; B 33, 34: £45

Upper Circle 
rows A to D (except restricted view seats): £57.50
Restricted view row B 5, 6, 33 and 34; C 6, 7, 35 and 36; D 3, 4, 35, 36: £25
rows E to H (except restricted view seats): £45
Restricted view row E and F 3, 4, 35 and 36, G 4, 5, 35 and 36; H 4, 5, 36, 37: £35
Rows K to N: £35 except
Restricted view row J; K 13 to 22; M 5 to 9, 25 to 27; N 6 to 9, 25 to 29: £25
Row O: £25

Boxes
B and C: £67.50 per seat if sold.


Saturday "Peak" dates
Stalls

rows A to U (except "Premium Seats" and Restricted View Seats): £82.50
Premium seats rows F to J 10 to 27, K to M 11 to 26: £175 or £150
Premium seats row C 12 to 26; D 10 to 26; E 10 to 27; N to P 11 to 26: £115
"Restricted View" seats rows D and E 4, 5; D 31, 32; E 32, 33: £69.50
"Restricted View" seats rows B and C 6, 7; B 30, 31; C 31, 32: £59.50
rows AA, V and W: £69.50
row X: £59.50

Dress Circle
rows A to M (except "Premium Seats" and "Restricted View" seats): £82.50
Premium seats rows A 14 to 27; B and C 13 to 26; D to F 17 to 20: £175 or £150
Premiums seats row A 12, 13, 28, 29; B and C 11, 12, 27, 28; D 11 to 16, 21 to 26; E 13 to 16, 21 to 24; F 15, 16, 21, 22; G and H 17 to 20: £115
Rows N and O: £69.50
Row P: £59.50
restricted view seats A 8; D 4, 5, 32, 33; E 3, 4, 33, 34: £69.50
restricted view seats A 6, 7; B 5, 6; C 4, 5, 34, 35: £59.50
restricted view seats A 32 and 33; B 33, 34: £45

Upper Circle 
rows A to D (except restricted view seats): £59.50
Restricted view row B 5, 6, 33 and 34; C 6, 7, 35 and 36; D 3, 4, 35, 36: £25
rows E to H (except restricted view seats): £45
Restricted view row E and F 3, 4, 35 and 36, G 4, 5, 35 and 36; H 4, 5, 36, 37: £35
Rows K to N: £35 except
Restricted view row J; K 13 to 22; M 5 to 9, 25 to 27; N 6 to 9, 25 to 29: £25
Row O: £25

Boxes
B and C: £69.50 per seat if sold.


"Day Seats": A small number of seats - quantity and location at box office discretion - are available to personal callers at the box office before the performance on the day from 10am, priced £25 each for MONDAY TO WEDNESDAY PERFORMANCES ONLY. Limited to 2 tickets per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.

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