REVIEW: The Great British Bake-off Musical at Noel Coward Theatre ★★★★

I have never seen an episode of The Great British Bake-off and had never heard of a soggy bottom until I went to see Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary’s newest musical, based on the very popular tv series.

Written during lockdown, The Great British Bake-off Musical is a light comedy that tells the story of eight contestants, all vying for the grand prize (and that oh-so-rare golden handshake). There isn’t much substance to it but there is a nice little story behind it of loss and longing and how we use things like baking to distract ourselves from the worries of life.

Haydn Gwynne is sensational as Pam Lee and once I realised she wasn’t portraying Mary Berry things made a lot more sense! It was refreshing to see John Owen-Jones portray a comedy character (Phil Hollinghurst) and prove he has more to offer than just his incredible voice in Phantom and Les Mis. Charlotte Wakefield carries the show as our main character, the unconfident ‘Gemma’ who feels she has lost her place in the world.

Zoe Birkett and Scott Paige are perfect as TV presenters Kim and Jim. The perfect comedy duo – I would watch any show they hosted (perhaps a stagey YouTube channel could be in their future).

Grace Mouat plays the stereotypical mean girl Izzy well, messing with the other contestants, trying to ruin their chances of winning. Jay Saighal adds comedy to the show as Dezza, first voted off of the competition but sneaking back at any possible moment. Aharon Rayner brings a warm fuzzy feeling with the character Hassan and the legendary Claire Moore brings east end London humour with ‘Babs’. 

The Great British Bake-off Musical oozes with cheese. It’s fluffy and fun but it knows what it is and somehow manages to make it (mostly) not cringe-worthy. Some of the accents were questionable and could be worked on but overall the cast were superb. The music is fun and catchy and even the cringey ‘Slap It Like That’ somehow finds a place in the show.

I enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would and I imagine those familiar with the tv show will think it’s baking amazing!

Reviewed by West End Wilma