Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lorin Latarro. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Lorin Latarro. Sort by date Show all posts

Thursday, 9 September 2021

Waitress, New Wimbledon Theatre | Review


Waitress (UK Tour) 
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Tuesday 7th September by Hope Priddle
★★★★

On the menu at Wimbledon Theatre this week, Waitress the Musical follows Jenna Hunterson (Lucie Jones)an aspiring baker who, with the support of her colleagues and dreamy gynecologist, imagines an escape from her provincial life and unhappy marriage. Based on the 2007 film by the late Adrienne Shelly, Waitress is a bittersweet story of friendship, love and finding yourselfwith (nearly) all the ingredients for a tasty theatrical treat.

 

Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles add flavour and spice to this quaint story; her playful, folk-pop score is full of frolicking motifs, followed by some gorgeous reflective numbers. They accompany book by Jessie Nelson which is delightfully witty and whimsical throughout, but sometimes suffers from its more casual tone. 

 

We are introduced to a collective of characters who are wholly endearing yet undeniably flawed, and it is refreshing to spend time with such imperfect and compromised characters. However, their poor choices often lack consequence and the stakes never quite feel high enough. Likewise, the shows treatment of domestic violence is lacking. Her abusive marriage to tip-stealing husband Earl - played by Tamlyn Hendersonwho nonetheless deftly balances the fine line between comedic stock villain and insidious manipulator - is explored in a just a few short scenes which are uncomfortably inserted into the narrative. Though pitched as a feminist drama, any moral message is half baked.

 

Jones steals our heart as weary waitress Jenna, giving a sensitive and nuanced performance which perfectly reflects the heartache, anguish and disappointment of our begrudgingly pregnant protagonist. Her buttery vocals are rich and controlled; her control and clarity unsurpassed. Jones’ soaring rendition of She Used To Be Mine across a silent auditorium scored a well-deserved mid-show ovation.

 

Jenna’s colleagues are equally well cast. Evelyn Hoskins is totally loveable as the adorably anxious Dawn, whose slow burning affection and excitement for new beau Ogie, brought to life with a welcome touch of innocence and youthfulness by George Crawford, is joyous to watch. Sandra Marvin similarly packs a punch as the feisty, lively yet loyal Becky. 

 

The duo provides comfort and advice to the expectant mother as she cautiously begins to imagine a new life for herself and her baby. Waitress offers such a lovely, intimate insight into female friendship, and it is in these quieter moments that the show really lands. As Dr Pomatter, Jenna’s forbidden love interest, Matt Willis proves himself to be a highly capable actor, capturing the character’s goofy and bumbling demeanour with ease. It is just a shame that his slightly nasally vocals are lost in his duets with Jones.

 

Lorin Latarro’s choreography is inspired, with instructive and empathetic gesturing by the ensemble used to cleverly mirror the movements of the lead characters. As Jenna goes into labour during Contraction Balletfemale quartet pulsate and swell perfectly in time. The ensemble is so in sync throughout and are truly mesmerising to watch.

 

Latarro’s routines are complemented by tastefully restrained lighting design (Ken Billington) that features but a series of coloured spotlights. Likewise, both set (Scott Pask) and costume (Suttirat Anne Larlarbare simplistic, if not a tad twee, but offer a sense of familiarity and warmth which gives the show heart. final special mention must go to on-stage band that seamlessly integrate themselves into the diner landscape – you wonder if their music is meant to be diegetic given how often we see into Jenna’s mind as she creates her fantastical pies.  

 

Waitress isn’t perfect, but it most certainly serves the audience with a little slice of happiness pie. Surely they’ll be coming back for second helpings?


Photo credit: Johan Persson

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre | Review


Waitress
Adelphi Theatre 
Reviewed on Thursday 7th March 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, Waitress is a quirky, sweet, fun show by late comedic legend, Adrienne Shelly. Having taken Broadway by storm, it has now opened in London and is a pastry wrapped parcel of theatrical sweetness. 

With music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, it's the score that's really the stand out factor of this show. The music is a magical combination of folk, pop, country and musical theatre, and gives the musical a really cinematic element. The contrast between high energy songs, calmer numbers and highly emotive pieces, cleverly matches the way the show emphasises the highs and lows of life. 

As we are welcomed into the Adelphi Theatre with the smell of pie permeating the air, we instantly feel a sense of relaxation and as if we really are visiting the small diner in rural America where most of the show is set. We're introduced to the characters as if they're friends and get to see the great cast at work. 


In Waitress, the ensemble act as though they are one. Of course they scatter the stage and have individual character moments (a particular stand out is Kelly Agbowu as the wonderfully sarcastic Nurse Norma as well as Charlotte Riby who is fantastic as Jenna's mum and really shines during her featured moments) but they really come into their own when they work as a team. Much of the choreography (Lorin Latarro) is ensemble based and features smooth movements as well as perfectly timed motions. The men and women combine at times to symbolise Jenna's internal thoughts, as well as keeping the show fluid and highlighting the connections between people on stage. Natural feeling movements are in reality, highly choreographed but the show still feels pretty free and spontaneous.

Whilst the show is cute and there are various witty moments, the book itself is not particularly strong as a whole. Leading lady Jenna, is pregnant with her abusive husband's child and falls in love with her gynaecologist Dr Pomatter, whilst her work colleagues also have romances of their own. 

The romantic encounters are charming but the consistent cheating which runs throughout the show, feels somewhat jarring. It's not the cheating itself which feels wrong- Jenna wants someone who loves her outside of her abusive relationship, whilst Becky's husband is unwell so she feels tied to him but wants something more- but the lack of resolution to these stories feels unfulfilling. The story is clearly meant to be about female empowerment, but it doesn't seem right that the men are allowed to act in any way they like (and motivate all decisions the women make). Ogie for example, doesn't think twice about hounding Dawn when she says no to seeing him again, whilst Dr Pomatter has no qualms with seducing a vulnerable patient. Of course these things are meant to make us root for them and see it as 'forbidden love' but unfortunately it leaves a bit of a sour taste.


However, the performances throughout are pretty uniformly wonderful and the cast do all that they can with the book they've been given. Katharine McPhee as Jenna, gives a graceful but vivacious performance, which at times feels a little too understated but truly delivers in her stand out moments such as She Used to be Mine and she leads to show with a delicacy that is enviable. David Hunter is suitably geeky and charming and brings a great vocal performance to Dr Pomatter, whilst Jack McBrayer is hilarious but lacks vocal strength and technique as Ogie. Marisha Wallace is sassy as Becky and Laura Baldwin gives a standout performance  both vocally and in terms of characterisation as timid, love-struck Dawn. 

Waitress is a show that takes you off the beaten track and provides a more intimate, less flashy show compared to those we usually see. This nuanced musical is a sweet treat that will warm your heart, purely thanks to it's quirkiness and affectionate score. 

Tickets for Waitress can be booked via www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

photo credit: Johan Persson

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Waitress, Adelphi Theatre | Review


Waitress
Adelphi Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 17th June 2019 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Sara Bareilles' cherry sweet musical follows Jenna as she bakes her feelings into pies. In an abusive relationship and expecting a child she is not excited about, we follow Jenna as she journeys through life and has some unexpected experiences.  

Three new cast members have joined the diner to form the second West End cast. They are Lucie Jones as Jenna, Ashley Roberts as Dawn and Blake Harrison as Ogie. Despite lacking vocal strength, breath control and diction at times, Ashley Roberts grew into the role of Dawn throughout the performance and as her limited run continues, she will surely relax more and bring the quirky character to life in a genuine, witty and entertaining way. Currently she feels somewhat as if she's overacting and is often flat or reaching for the notes in both her solo and group numbers and certainly lacks the finesse expected in the West End, but hopefully this will be rectified and she will prove a good star cast choice. Her partner, played by fellow newcomer Blake Harrison is supremely funny one hundred percent of the time. Again his vocals are ever so slightly lacking, but as the nerves fade, so will the faults. Harrison is a hugely entertaining performer and a pleasant surprise in this sweet show. 

As leading lady Jenna, Lucie Jones is second to none. Her impeccable interpretation of the character is charming, sincere, humourous and heartbreaking at once. Each small facial expression and movement is filled with a thousand words; and alongside Lucie's phenomenal, clear-as-glass voice, the performance is mesmerising. The vulnerability of Jenna is brought to life in a nuanced but completely effective way by Jones, with her rendition of She Used To Be Mine not only breaking hearts, but bringing the audience to their feet mid show. 

Michael Hamway (swing) embodies the erratic but charming Dr Pomatter admirably, as well as bringing some stellar vocals to the stage. You Matter To Me was performed with heartbreaking sincerity by Jones and Hamway. Marisha Wallace continues to bring sass, sass and more sass to the stage, as well as powerhouse vocals, lively one-liners and delicate moments with Jenna. Take it From an Old Man is a welcome moment of calm and simplicity performed by diner regular, Old Joe, played by Shaun Prendergast


The villain of the show, and highly flawed character Earl is played with menace by Peter Hannah. Whilst the moments of physical anger are jarring, it's the brief moments of emotional blackmail which really strike the audience. Hannah manages to capture both tormenting sides of Earl, in a spectacularly well-constructed and controlled way. The character is vile but Peter must be applauded for performing him so well and truthfully. 

Nurse Norma is a highly amusing character who pops up throughout the show to deliver brilliant one-liners. Brought to life by Kelly Agbowu she is an especially memorable character and manages to gain numerous laughs in the stage time she has. Charlotte Riby also puts a smaller character in the forefront of our minds with her honest performance as Jenna's mum who faced many similar struggles as well as teaching her daughter all she knows about baking. Jones and Riby have a chemistry which is visible even from their brief moments together and it's lovely to see.

Scott Pask's set and Lorin Latarro's choreography are particularly effective with the sets and ensemble often moving as one to create a fluidity throughout. Equally as impressive is the way the stage transforms to mirror the moods of leading lady Jenna. The home shared by Jenna and her abusive husband is surrounded by darkness and is much smaller than each of the other settings so physically emphasises how trapped Jenna feels, and is. When she begins to rediscover her spark, the space expands in a moment of relief and theatrical wonder. 


Whilst a lot of the morals and motivations in this musical are morally ambiguous and there is a lack of resolution, there's no denying that it's a sweet treat filled with musical delights and sugary performances. Sara Bareilles' score is a delightful listen and the mostly strong cast do a wonderful job of bringing it to life and showing that there is always light and support at the end of the tunnel.

Waitress is currently booking at the Adelphi Theatre until December 7th 2018, tickets can be booked at www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

photo credit: Johan Persson

Friday, 5 November 2021

Mrs Doubtfire Musical to Receive UK Premiere


Producers Kevin McCollum and Jamie Wilson are thrilled to today announce the UK premiere of Mrs. Doubtfire, the new comedy musical based on the iconic movie.

Mrs. Doubtfire will begin performances at the Manchester Opera House on Friday 2 September 2022, with a strictly limited season through until Saturday 1 October.

Tickets for the Manchester season of Mrs. Doubtfire go on priority sale on Monday 8 November and on general sale on Thursday 11 November at www.mrsdoubtfiremusical.co.uk

Out-of-work actor Daniel will do anything for his kids. After losing custody in a messy divorce, he creates the ​alter ego of Scottish nanny Euphegenia Doubtfire in a desperate attempt to stay in their lives. As his new character takes on a life of its own, Mrs. Doubtfire teaches Daniel more than he bargained for about how to be a father.

A hilarious and heartfelt story about holding onto your loved ones against all odds, Mrs. Doubtfire is the musical comedy we need right now.

Kevin McCollum and Jamie Wilson said: “We are thrilled to announce that Mrs Doubtfire will make its UK premiere next year. Manchester is one of the great cities of theatre, and we can’t wait to bring Mrs Doubtfire to the Opera House. We hope audiences will take this hilarious and touching show to their hearts, and promise a great evening for everyone!”

Sarah Bleasdale, General Manager, Palace and Opera House Theatres, said: 

“We’re incredibly excited to have another production launching in the UK from Manchester, and this time – direct from Broadway. We continue to proudly showcase the very best in new musical theatre under our Manchester gets it first banner and know that our audiences have a real treat on the way with the iconic Mrs Doubtfire. A big moment for our theatres and the city, and a production we cannot wait to open our doors to”.

Mrs. Doubtfire has been created by a transatlantic team of award-winning artists, with a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, original music and lyrics by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick, (the Tony Award-nominated team behind Something Rotten!, along with O’Farrell), direction by 4-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks (Hello, Dolly!), scenic design by David Korins (Hamilton), choreography by Lorin Latarro (Waitress), and music supervision by Ethan Popp (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical).

Mrs. Doubtfire is performing at the Stephen Sondheim Theatre on Broadway, having started at with a spectacular run at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre in 2019. Extended by popular demand, the Seattle engagement shattered the record for the bestselling new musical in the history of The 5th Avenue Theatre, selling over $4.7M worth of tickets and playing to more than 75,000 people in just 42 performances. 

Mrs. Doubtfire is produced by Kevin McCollum and Jamie Wilson and is presented by special arrangement with Buena Vista Theatrical.


Monday, 14 February 2022

Waitress (Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Waitress (Tour)
New Victoria Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 14th February 2022
★★★★

The dish of the day at the New Victoria Theatre this Valentines day is Waitress the Musical which follows Jenna Hunterson (Chelsea Halfpenny) an aspiring baker who wants nothing more than to escape her life and unhappy marriage. With the help of her colleagues and new gynaecologist, her dreams start to become possible as she bakes herself a new life. It's a heartwarming tale of romantic and platonic love, that is a sweet treat indeed.

Based on the film of the same name written by Adrienne Shelly, the stage version adds the extra ingredient of Sara Bareilles' score. Memorable, folky songs are a joy to watch and feature a number of gorgeous motifs which appear throughout. There is a great mixture of humourous numbers, as well as more emotional, reflective ones. The book by Jessie Nelson is dotted with wit and whimsy but occasionally feels a little underdeveloped with some moral ambiguity that is never resolved.

As leading lady, Chelsea Halfpenny is an utter delight in the role of Jenna. Vocally she is faultless and gives a beautifully nuanced performance full of charm and warmth. Her comedic timing is wonderful and she also brings Jenna's vulnerable side to life truthfully. 

As her friends, Becky and Dawn, Sandra Marvin and Evelyn Hoskins are marvellous. Evelyn is completely adorable as Dawn, bringing the house down with her laughs and her completely frenetic performance that oozes humour. As her partner in crime, Ogie, George Crawford is completely stellar. His comedy chops completely shine and are matched by his great vocals.

As Dr Pomatter, Jenna's gynaecologist and love interest, Nathanael Landskroner is brilliantly bumbling. His chemistry with Chelsea is glorious to watch and he also matches her perfectly in terms of vocals and they really complement one another. The ensemble also work together like a well-oiled machine.

Just like the ensemble, Scott Pask's set and Lorin Latarro's fine-tuned choreography work seamlessly together. They are not only incredibly in sync with the whole show but are also greatly reflective of the story and emotions; with the set literally coming to life and expanding as Jenna finds herself. 

Waitress is an intimate show which transfers wonderfully for touring venues. Despite its faults, it's almost baked to perfection. Excellent performances and major whimsy make it a stagey slice of sweetness that's well worth seeing. 

Waitress plays at the New Victoria Theatre until 19th February 2022 and then continues its tour

photo credit: Johan Persson