It’s rare for this viewer to go to his local theatre. Honestly, there isn’t that much that comes as far north within Scotland as Aberdeen and the shows that do are often the same usual suspects. Much as. We don’t get the new Disney stage version of Beauty and the Beast or the current Heathers tour but here’s Mama Mia yet again. This writer is looking forward to seeing the touring production of School of Rock thanks to seeing and loving the West End run but the show will not be new to him. Along with the upcoming Touring production of Book of Mormon Waitress was another relatively big West End musical that this author had not seen before knowing it was coming to one of his local theatres… Thus I grabbed a wheelchair accessible ticket and went along. How was it?
It’s worth noting that this reviewer has not seen the original film The peace accord adapted for the stage. It was released at a time when this viewer was getting into consistently watching new releases. He remembers the murder of its director Adrienne Shelly getting some coverage and the original film posthumous release but it was one he never got around to. As a first exposure to the material, the musical is a very odd experience. The story of a talented pie maker who gets unexpectedly pregnant and wants to use his skills to win a national competition. All well she has banter with her coworkers and deals with several regular customers working at a typical US diner. Critically she also dreams of getting away from her abusive husband
This show is a very odd beast. As might be indicated by that general summary the tone flits all over the place. It goes from very earnest to deadly serious while taking in a hefty dollop of broad sex comedy at the tip of a hat. There are individual moments and songs where the shows somewhat strange alchemy does come together. The broader moments can be effective and enjoyable with a big audience. The UK tour cast is very committed. They are attempting to bring this tonally all over the place material together in a definitive package. It’s difficult to say that it entirely works as a whole.
The wildly uneven nature of the show cascades down to the music. There are some numbers here, that have the level of energy that screams modern musical theatre. That said a lot of this score and songs, default to milk toast adult contemporary ballads more often than not. Given lyricist Sara Bareilles is one of the most prolific modern figures in the realm of inoffensive coffee shop music this is not surprising
Waitress was a very weird show. Not to say that this watcher doesn’t see why it has an audience. It would be easy to get swept along by the incredibly broad sense of humour throughout. However, the sections where it wants to be more than a broad sex comedy are the moment’s where the jarring tonal shifts come rearing interview. No matter how hard an excellent UK tour cast tries, they can’t wrestle the all over the place material into something with a degree of consistency. This viewer is certainly glad to have crossed another relatively big musical of his viewing list. However, he doesn’t think he will be seeing any future productions of the show. Onto his next theatre excursion. The multiply delayed UK tour for the Book of Mormon.