The Great British Bake Off Musical at Noël Coward Theatre
Bake Off fans rejoice! The Great British Bake Off Musical has opened. For everyone else, it’s fine. This is one of those shows that’s a three-star at best for those unfamiliar with the source material and a five-star for those who absolutely love it.
The Great British Bake Off Musical is just that. The Great British Bake Off… but also a musical. It’s a show that had to do absolutely nothing to have a sold-out run. They could have put zero effort in and still would have had Bake Off simps lining up outside. But, as it happens, they did the work.
This has all the trappings of a series of the popular TV show: a formulaic set of contestants (featuring all your favourites – attractive middle class lady, attractive foreign lady, straight-talking older lady, well-dressed gay man and vegan), comic hosts making terrible jokes, and Prue Leith and Paul Hollywood (except they’re called Pam Lee and Phil Hollinghurst). The contestants slowly get whittled down as they take on signature bake, technical and showstopper challenges.
But it adds its own spin. There’s the music, of course, a romance storyline that no one really cares about but which helps with pacing and variety, and a small child who pops up just often enough to make it worth the trouble of having a child actor.
The writing in general is considerably better than expected. There are jokes aplenty, and pretty good ones at that (although they do rely on a working knowledge of GBBO). And the songwriting craft is impressive; there’s intelligence behind every lyric, and writers Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary should certainly be marked for big things in the future. But, ultimately, the songs don’t include that big, unforgettable, stuck-in-your-head-for-weeks number. They’re all technical and no showstoppers.
It’s a fun experience. At the ticket price, it’s competing with the likes of Wicked, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, and Les Misérables and just doesn’t stack up against them for the average theatregoer, but for die-hard Bake Off fans, there will be no better night out in London.
The Great British Bake Off Musical is at Noël Coward Theatre from 25th February until 13th May 2023. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.