Growing up, nine year old Nigel Slater was content. He often helped his beloved mother with the baking, and she even taught him the ingredients for mince pies off by heart (measurements included!). But tragically Slater was left motherless, after her asthma became increasingly bad, and, in the end, fatal.
His father soon met another woman, Aunty Joan, and they – much to Nigel’s dismay – all moved in together. This woman was incomparable to the mum that Nigel was so fond of, and they constantly battled to outdo each other in the kitchen.
The play, based on Slater’s book ‘Toast – the story of a boy’s hunger’ takes us through the promising young chef’s formative years. It’s not told though from an adult’s perspective, looking back on his childhood. This is pure, raw and innocent, communicated in only the way a child can articulate.
Written by Henry Filloux-Bennett, and directed by Jonnie Riordan, Toast perfectly encapsulates the nostalgia that lingers from our childhoods. Throughout the play, the audience were given edible treats – from lemon meringue pies to apple bon bons, and walnut whips, where the instructions on how to consume were certainly a little risqué!
Giles Cooper’s performance as Nigel Slater was flawless. His ability to present himself as a young child was uncanny, and as the character grew, the audience grew with him. He made Slater endearing, unintentionally hilarious, and loveable.
One name to certainly watch out for, is Lizzie Muncey. Her performance as Nigel’s mum was charming, and her portrayal of a mother’s love for her son was both beautiful and heartbreaking.
This is one you really can’t miss.
Reviewed by Luisa Gottardo
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