To see a world premiere of a production based around a much-loved TV show at a theatre very close to my heart makes me beam with excitement and pride. The team at the Everyman have worked so hard on putting this together and it’s really paid off.
The creatives, Jake Brunger, Pippa Cleary and producer Mark Goucher, have completely captured what the nation loves about Bake Off and managed to squeeze it into a two-hour and twenty-minute stage production.
I for one love Bake Off because it feels like a little escape. Once a week, all that matters is if Sandra’s dough rises or not, or if Ben can turn it around after almost dropping his mini quiches. It’s drama on a small scale but keeps it light and cheeky. This production mirrors the qualities of the TV show perfectly.
The Great British Bake Off Musical follows, as you may have guessed, a group of 8 bakers as they battle it out for the all-important title and engraved cake stand. These baking characters match the stereotypes we’ve seen over the years of Bake Off. We’ve got the die-hard vegan, the cheeky older lady and the chilled student, plus the rest of the gang. Each one was played by a brilliant actor or actress; the stage was brimming with talent from the first bake to the final showstopper.
With many of them having their own little song and story to tell, it's so easy to fall in love with each and every one of them. We follow the story of the backup baker, Gemma, who gets brought onto the show last minute. She suffers from imposter syndrome along with a crush on a fellow baker. It’s a little bit of a predictable plot but that’s not really an issue here. The audience is gripped from the off by the familiar innuendo and recognisable tent scenery.
We’re treated to a brilliant pair of hosts, Jim and Kim, played by Scott Paige and Jaye Jacobs respectively, along with judges Pam Lee, played by Rosemary Ashe, and Phil Hollinghurs, played by John Owen-Jones - who for me stole the show when he was on stage. His facial expressions and tonality in his voice were spot on, making him the perfect Bake Off host.
There aren’t currently any plans for this show to move forward into another venue but I really hope this isn’t the final curtain call. It’s wonderfully delicious, comfortingly familiar and relentlessly uplifting. I smell a hit on the horizon.