Waitress at the Sunderland Empire

Who put the wait in Waitress? Well, Covid I guess. But it was worth the wait indeed and to finally be back inside a theatre and watching talented people do their thing was amazing. You really don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and not going to shows for the past 18 months and more has been a killer.

Photos Credit: waitressthemusical.co.uk

Helen, Lydia Delilah and I headed up to Sunderland last night to see the UK tour of Waitress – the musical about Jenna, the waitress and pie-maker extraordinaire who dreams of a happier life away from her rather not-so-nice husband.

Originally we had tickets for Back To The Future the musical in Manchester for my 40th birthday in March 2020. But, when lockdown came that show went away and never came back (to Manchester, it is on in London). But, with the credit, Helen bagged us four tickets to see Waitress – another musical I’d been wanting to see.

Lucie Jones stars as Jenna. If it wasn’t for the Eurovision Song Contest we’d have seen Jones in the RENT tour in York a few years ago. She nailed this performance and was a joy to watch. But, equally, all the lead roles shone from the start. While Jenna is the focus of the story you also have Becky (Sandra Marvin) and Dawn (Evie Hoskins), her fellow waitresses at Joe’s Pie Diner. Throw in Matt Willis as Dr. Pomatter and the sensational George Crawford as Ogie and you have a cast that really entertains.

“She Used To Be Mine” is the standout song from this show, sung by Jenna who has to hold the whole stage during this emotional solo. Jones’ performance was simply magnificent and deservedly received extended applause from the audience. It’s a song I know very well considering Delilah performs it every time she goes in the shower! I just had no idea where in the show it really came. Jones really delivered it beautifully with a mix of rawness and power that brought a tear to my eye.

Matt Willis (yes, the one from Busted) as Dr. Pomatter is just brilliant. He and Jones’ on-stage chemistry worked so well and the comedy shone through perfectly.

George Crawford also has to get a mention for playing the quirky Ogie so magnificently. Definitely, one of the more comical characters in the show and he delivers a solid performance with some awesome dance moves to boot.

I’m no theatre critic, just a guy who loves going to the theatre and being entertained. On that basis, this show gets a 5-star rating from me.

The tour runs across the UK through to August 2022 – so plenty of opportunities to catch it somewhere. Check out waitressthemusical.co.uk for more details.

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