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Waitress - Derngate Theatre, Northampton

Fresh, delicious and coming to a table near you, Waitress is this week serving up helpings in Northampton at Royal & Derngate Theatre. This is a musical to make you hungry. Especially if you fancy a bit of pie.

Waitress tells the story of Jenna, an expert pie maker in a small town, who dreams of a way out of her loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a new life, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes to happiness. But Jenna must find the courage and strength within herself to rebuild her life. This upbeat musical celebrates friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.

Tonight’s performance Jenna was played by Aimee Fisher. Aimee was outstanding in the role and we found it hard to believe she is the understudy. She is a star and totally deserves a place on a west end stage. A phenomenal voice, outstanding acting and she owns the stage with her presence.

Sandra Marvin plays Becky. Becky is struggling with her own life and working in Joe’s pie diner is the only escape she has. She values her work colleagues and considers them her life-long friends. Sandra is fantastic in the role and plays with heart, and yet again another fantastic voice. Evelyn Hoskins plays Dawn. Dawn is the geeky funny one and Evelyn is amazing in the role. Dawn gets some of the best lines in the show and so this allows Evelyn to be funny as well as demonstrate her triple threat skill set.

Matt Willis plays the handsome Dr Pomatter. Matt is a natural on stage and his performance of the doctor was so convincing. I have never had such a handsome doctor but if Matt was offering his services, I could be tempted to change practices. Earl is played by Tamlyn Henderson and Earl is a difficult part to play as Earl is not likeable. He bullies his wife and takes all her earnings. He drinks and loses his job. A real gem of a guy. But underneath that awful exterior, there lies a vulnerable man who just wants to be loved. Tamlyn was so good at showing us a softer side to Earl.

All the cast are exceptional and really every cast member is delivering to make this show a stand out one to see. I also enjoyed seeing the band in one corner of the diner. It really works in this show which has some fantastic numbers and some laugh out loud moments. The storylines are sometimes uncomfortable, these ladies do not have an easy life. It was sometimes hard to imagine this is set in present day as in this small town in the USA, where men seem to dominate their women, it feels very 1950’s. The show deals with domestic abuse, unwanted pregnancy, living on a low income and feeling that these women deserve so much more than their small town offers them in opportunities for a better life.

Waitress should come with a warning as I found myself wanting to bake, (sugar, butter, flour) and was feeling really hungry for a pie. If there was a pie stall in the foyer, I think it would have sold out! If you are hungry for a good show, Waitress is at Derngate until 15 January 2022. Go get yourself a slice...erm I mean ticket.


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