The Great British Bake Off – the hit TV show that’s taken audiences all over the world by storm. Also, the musical nobody asked for, and maybe there’s good reason.
If you’ve seen the TV show you’ll be very familiar with the basis of this musical. Eight bakers, two presenters and two judges. Through the musical, we lightly explore these eight aspiring bakers guided by our two presenters with the occasional appearance of our two very well-loved presenters. Other than that, there’s not much basis for this show.
Where the musical struggles is it doesn’t take the comedy far enough; whilst there are a few funny songs, the jokes get old very quickly and the parody never goes far enough for us to be tearing up in hysterics. It’s almost as if this show is protecting the brand whilst attempting to point fun at it, all of which falls flat in a storyline thinner than Paul Hollywood’s filo pastry.
The musical has an incredible cast, filled with top musical theatre talent who do what they can with the non-existent character development and dull storyline. We never get too deep into the characters and therefore don’t really care enough about them, so when the winner is about to be announced at the end, we don’t really care what the outcome is. And by the actual outcome, neither do the writers.
The star of the show is Charlotte Wakefield who plays Gemma, as the main focal point in the production she does a very good job with the material she’s given. She gives a very real and natural performance which brings out the comedy in the writing delicately. Her eleven o’clock number ‘Rise’ was a highlight of the show with killer vocals and a very thoughtful performance. Damian Humbley also brings out similar qualities in the piece, making the romantic relationship a sweet touch to the show.
Whilst there are some very good performances in the show, none can be pulled out because the development of their characters was so poor. Not at fault with the performers, but with the writing by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary. There are a few good numbers in the show but they are very few and far between. Nothing goes deeper than the surface and even in touching moments the writing feels unnatural and therefore we struggle to connect with it.
The show is nice but fails to deliver the comedy or heart we get from the TV show. With a group of very talented performers doing the absolute best they can, the actual material is what lets this show down. I’m sure this will be a hit with Bake Off fans but for someone wanting a good night at the theatre, this isn’t the show for you.
Review by Mark Swale
Seat: Grand Circle, B18 | Price of Ticket: £62.75