This new musical written by multi-award-winning duoJake Brunger (book and lyrics) and Pippa Cleary (music and lyrics) follows a group of bakers as they seek to become the star baker and win the Great British Bake Off. Based on the tv show we all know and love, which we become invested in each summer, as we watch the highs and lows, the showstoppers and the soggy bottoms.
John Owen Jones takes on the role of Phil Hollinghurst, the blue-eyed, silver fox of a judge, he displays some exceptional vocals and oozes charisma. Haydn Gwynne as Pam Lee wasn’t quite on par, providing a slightly underwhelming performance. However, the pair were thoroughly underutilised during the show and could have been incorporated more into the plot, whereas we learned some background about other characters, these two didn’t feel fully realised.
Scott Paige as the host, Jim, had some excellent one-liners, delivering these impeccably well. Charlotte Wakefield has some of the best songs in the show as Gemma, a carer from Blackpool, and these are delivered expertly. She sang quite a few slowed-down musical numbers, it would have been nice to have more variety in the songs Wakefield performs. But the star of this show is Grace Mouat, as the snobby Izzy, her quips, jibs, and expressions are hilarious, and her vocals are pitch perfect, especially in the strikingly brilliant musical number ‘Obviously’.
Alice Power’s set perfectly encapsulates the tent from the show, imagination is not required as we are transported to the competition setting instantly. The set is dynamic, captivating the audience’s attention and ensuring the production is eye-catching.
The characters are rather clichéd and veer into the realm of caricatures at times. However, within this show it works, it means there are characters with traits we either love or hate, which is incredibly effective in compelling the audience to want one of them to win the competition. The show feels akin to a pantomime, and it is incredibly British – but the show thrives, providing lots of laughs, and some more tender moments too.
The run time could be condensed as the show begins to drag toward the end. Some songs are not notable and could be culled without hindering the plot, as I don’t feel that every character needs a solo. But overall, the songs are catchy, fun, and sometimes moving. Brunger’s script is excellent, causing raucous laughter in the audience.
This show is exactly what the West End needs right now, after the past few years everyone could use a light-hearted, heart-warmingly fun show such as this one. A show where you can sit back and be entertained, without having to concentrate intensely. The Great British Bake Off Musical sprinkles a little joy in the West End – and has the perfect recipe for an uplifting, hilarious, and touching show, creating an absolute showstopper. It’s bound to be everyone’s new guilty pleasure!
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