On the 21st of April, I attended a performance of the Waitress UK tour at the Edinburgh Playhouse. The night I went to see this show I and the rest of the audience were thoroughly entertained by the performance and were fully immersed in the storyline as it was full of laughter and love, and a true joy to watch on stage!
The story of Waitress
Waitress is the story of Jenna Hunterson, an employee of Joe’s Pie Diner. Jenna is in an abusive relationship with her husband Earl. When Jenna unexpectedly becomes pregnant, she decides she needs to find a way to start a new life and pins her hopes on entering the National Pie Bake-Off so that she can win the grand prize and leave her husband
At the same time, she begins to fall for her gynecologist Dr. Jim Pomatter and begins to have an affair with him, which, alongside her pregnancy and the struggles of becoming a new mother, helps her discover who she used to be.
Jenna’s friends Becky and Dawn have their own troubles, so in the mix of Jenna’s romance, we also see the other waitresses embark on their own journeys and realize they also have a chance of finding love.
The director Diane Paulus became involved with bringing the 2007 film waitress to the stage as a musical in 2012. Diane said, ” I loved the quirky tone and the fact it is filled with humor and has a fairytale-like quality to it, but behind all of that was very serious issues and a deep emotional impact”.
Diane Paulus managed to keep the original essence of the waitress film and projected it onto the stage just as she had originally planned. To keep the audience engaged she made creative connections between the waitress throughout the plot to show the importance of Jenna, Becky, and Dawn’s friendship. I had previous knowledge of this show before I attended the performance however due to the great direction by Diane I realized the story isn’t all about romance, instead, I gained a deeper understanding of how important friendship is in this musical.
Lorin Latarro is the choreographer of Waitress the Musical. Before Lorin became a choreographer she was in 14 Broadway shows as a performer, including Fosse, Swing!, A Chorus Line and Twyla Tharp’s Movin’ Out. Due to her previous experiences in theatre, she has become a huge choreographer for Broadway and you can really tell she has loads of talent due to her work waitress. while working on Waitress Lorin Latarro said “The first time I heard Sara Bareilles’s music I closed my eyes and I knew what to do with the piece… we have to see her daydream. we have to see her daydream about having the courage to leave her husband and after that idea came the rest fell into place.”
As an audience member, I really appreciate Lorin’s work on both “when he sees me” and “never getting rid of me” as I truly felt her choreography throughout these songs was smooth and clean to watch it also felt really natural for the actors to perform. What made these moments so exciting to watch was the real-life props the cast was using, for example, real coffee. The use of real life was really important to Lorin Latarrio as she believes it would make the experience more real for the audience. Lorin once said “why are we not pouring real coffee we’re in a diner! She has done and truly excellent job with the show and I feel like her type of choreography really fits this musical.
Sara Bareilles is the great mind behind the music and lyrics of the waitress. In early 2013, Diane Paulus approached Sara about working on the musical adaptation of Waitress the Musical. In response to watching the film for the first time, Sara wrote ‘She Used To Be Mine’ as the first song for the show. The music in this show does completely change the experience of watching the performance. The soundtrack is definitely one you could sing your heart out to, with its perfect mix of fun upbeat songs that make you smile and its emotional ballads that make you shed a tear when you listen to them.
Even though all the music is absolutely incredible the song that created a great atmosphere throughout the audience was “she used to mine” when watching this be performed on stage you couldn’t hear a pin drop its was silent as everyone couldn’t take their eyes off the stage which just shows how powerful that ballad in the show.
one last aspect I really appreciated about the music in this show was how each character had the chance to tell their story through different songs. Every character’s song fits them perfectly which is so true and authentic to listen to.
The night I attended Waitress UK tour a lot of the cast was changed from what was on the program but before we sat down we were given the cast list who was performing that night which I found exciting as I had never seen anything like that before. This cast was incredible and could not have performed any better I was blown away. In particular, I was really impressed by Aimee Fisher who played Jenna, and Charlie Martin who played Dawn. Both of these characters are really different but create huge impacts on the Story. Aimee Fisher’s vocals were so emotional and felt so real even when she was acting you could tell that there was more to the character which we begin to see as the show continues. Amiee Fisher definitely stole the show and was a true leading lady. Charlie Martin who played Dawn, however, was the comedy relief of this show and made us all smile, but what stood out to me in her performance was the sensitive side she showed as Dawn which made the character really relatable to an audience member which made the character so special.
If you couldn’t already tell I loved this performance! As someone who loves musicals it was definitely up there as one of my favourites. However, even if you aren’t the biggest musical fan I would still try to grab tickets next time a Waitress UK tour comes somewhere near you because it is worth it. It is a story for everyone and it can bring a huge smile to your face. so if you want a show that is funny but can also make you shed a tear then this is the show for you!