Combining the perfect ingredients of a strong cast, exceptional writing and flawless musical numbers, Waitress is a musical full of heart and hilarity.
With an all-female creative team, they have crafted an authentic story focused on a female’s voice as they capture the life of waitress Jenna and the trials and tribulations she faces when she falls pregnant with her abusive husband’s baby. Desperate to leave him but stuck under his control, she embarks on a journey to step out of her comfort zone and make the important decision, supported by her excellently witty best friends and fellow waitresses Dawn and Becky.
Set in a Southern state of America, composer and well-known pop artist Sara Bareilles creates a country style in her catchy numbers, bringing bounce and flair to the music. Recently stepping into the role, Betsy Wolfe portrays the role of vulnerable waitress Jenna and brings heaps of character to her performance which builds throughout the story to prove triumph over her early suppressed self. She’s the girl next door, oozing with likability and a voice as sweet as one of Jenna’s famous pies. Wolfe portrays the fully dimensional character’s different sides, whether it’s her pain, confusion, desperation or drive, and her vocals are nothing less than astonishing. Belting out the heartbreaking solo She Used To Be Mine, she performs with immense poignancy.
The focus on female relationships in the show is touching, emotional and relatable. Whether it’s awkwardly geeky Dawn played by Caitlin Houlahan or Natasha Yvette Williams who takes on the role of witty, sassy and eccentric Becky. Their distinct personalities are exceedingly funny as they attempt to guide each other through the issues in their lives. The first number Opening Up is performed with impressive harmonies and superb characterisation which continues throughout the show. A real pocket of humour and joy that unravels through the story is Dawn’s relationship with Ogie who she meets online, after Jenna and Becky nudge her into dating. Their gawkiness is both adorable and hysterical, particularly Christopher Fitzgerald who plays Ogie and his musical number Never Ever Getting Rid of Me that has the audience howling with laughter. Kept on the straight and narrow by their strict but kind-hearted manager Cal, Benny Elledge is greatly amusing with his frequent remarks towards the three waitresses.
After Jenna falls pregnant she is introduced to her new gynaecologist Dr. Pomatter played by Jason Myraz. He is endearing and charismatic but it’s his awkward approach to the role makes the character incredibly charming. His nervousness around Jenna sparks a lot of humour and Mraz’s fantastic characterisation is mirrored by his first-rate vocals.
Like a slice of fresh pie, Waitress the musical fills you with warmth as it serves up humour, emotion and delight, led by an astounding leading lady Betsy Wolfe who is an honour and privilege to watch on stage.
Waitress is on at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre and tickets can be found here.