Review: Waitress **** (Edinburgh Playhouse) - the warmest, most joyful of shows

Waitress the musical has had a bit of a rollercoaster ride to get to the stage of the Playhouse Theatre.

Wednesday, 20th April 2022, 5:13 pm

Originally slated to play in January, it was postponed by COVID restrictions, and when the curtain went up on Tuesday it found itself with a trio of cast changes.

And it still delivered the warmest, most joyful of shows.

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, it’s a smashing rom com with a great storyline - something, let’s be honest, not all musicals have.

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Set in an all-American diner, it tells the story of Jenna, waitress and pie-maker extraordinaire, who yearns for happiness away from her appalling, abusive husband, Earl (Donal Brennan).

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But she’s pregnant, and there’s the not inconsiderable matter of her falling for her doctor, while trying to save up her tips to escape.

Aimee Fisher stepped in to replace Chelsea Halfpenny in the lead role, and Liam McHugh deputised for Busted star Matt Willis, and they were both outstanding.

Waitress is at the Playhouse until Saturday

Their storyline also links effortlessly with fellow waitresses Becky (Wendy Mae Brown) whose sassy, sharp one line bite backs were a joy, and Dawn (Evelyn Hoskins) who lit up the stage with her blossoming, charming romance with Ogie (superbly played by George Crawford).

Their friendship sits at the heart of this musical, and the story drives it as much as the songs.

There are some absolute stand out numbers though - none more so than She Used To Be Mine, delivered with such emotion by Aimee the applause literally halted the show.

And then you get Take It from An Old Man’ - a tender, lovely moment from Michael Starke as the philanthropic cafe owner, as the story strands all start to pull together.

I also loved the way the ensemble wrapped themselves so effortlessly around the main characters - one moment joining band members as cafe diners, the next moving with a subtlety that drew you deeper into the songs.

Waitress has so much to commend it as it celebrates the universal themes of love and friendship.

It’s a musical with a glorious heart.

Until Saturday.