CHEF and food journalist Nigel Slater’s memoir, Toast, was a best-seller among his many fans and the film of the book, starring Freddie Highmore and Helena Bonham Carter, has become a classic.
Now the story of how the nine-year-old Nigel learned to love cooking has been adapted for the stage by the Lowry Theatre, and it’s a sheer delight.
The five strong cast perform Henry Filloux-Bennett’s adaptation under the direction and choreography of Jonnie Riordan, in a show that incorporates contemporary songs, 60s fashions and a brilliantly envisaged game show as the funny, sad, painfully honest story unfolds.
At its centre is Giles Cooper as Nigel, the boy who realised from an early age that it was impossible not to love someone who made toast for him, even if it was always burned at the edges.
Katy Federman’s main role (there’s a deal of doubling up) is as Nigel’s lovely mother, making every simple dish an adventure. Blair Plant is his weak and intolerant Dad, with his very clear views on which sweets are for boys, and which for girls. Samantha Hopkins is his ghastly and jealously competitive stepmother and Stefan Edwards all the other men in young Nigel’s life.
Performed on a period kitchen set with moving islands to aid the choreographed movement, it is perfectly observed, and the audience even gets to join in with some of the confectionery.
Whether you are a fan of cookery shows in general, of Mr Slater in particular, or of stories told with charm, poignancy, wit and a light touch that whisks its audience to the day when Nigel gets his first job in London, free from the constraints of his oppressive post-mother family life, this is the show for you.
Don’t miss the chance to see it, on stage in Salisbury until Saturday 9th November, with matinees.