Reviewer: Holly Spanner
Premiering at the Landor Theatre in October 2013 after a short run at the Waterloo East Theatre, SimG Records have released their latest recording: The Bakewell Bake Off. Initially intended as an in-house production, the musical was created as a college project by a group of students at the Guildford School of Acting (GSA), later to be christened The Baking Committee. Directed by GSA course leader Julian Woolford, this musical kick starts the careers of a very talented group of youngsters, rising to the occasion in this original piece of new writing.
Following the success of the BBC’s Great British Bake Off, The Bakewell Bake Off is set in Bakewell, a small market town in Derbyshire famous for its puddings. In the heart of the Peak District National Park, residents are preparing for the annual Christmas Bake Off, but this year hostess Victoria Sponge (Alexandra Spalding) has a surprise in store. Enter seven contestants and three judges as the heat is on to find the town’s definitive recipe for the famous tart of Bakewell.
A musical comedy with a cabaret feel, The Bakewell Bake Off is cheeky, humorous and full of characters, each with their own style and individuality. It takes a few times listening to this album to really appreciate the work that as gone into it, and it is easy to forget there is only a piano for accompaniment. A fantastic opportunity for these students, this recording represents something we should be seeing more of in this ultra-competitive industry.
There are puns a plenty throughout, as presented shamelessly in We Might Fall in Love; a beautiful trio between Susie Sunflower (Emily Jeffries), Freddie Twist (Tim Stuart) and Flora Drizzle (Katherine Glover) – a favourite on the album. The Original Bakewell Tart performed by Lucy Emmott as Tina Tartin, is sultry and sumptuous for the most part, and is where her strength is apparent. Gospel style Bake Your Way to Heaven by Victoria Humphries as Sister Mary is catchy and well worth hitting that replay button for. The comedy keeps flowing with numbers like the Science of Baking by Flora Drizzle, while When We Find Our Tart takes the positive from the competition in a hopeful song as the characters reflect on how they got to where they are.
Like a cake yet to be iced, there is still some work to be done on this musical. A solid base, with all the right ingredients for a tastefully rich production, The Bakewell Bake Off is a recipe for success.
We know the score, we’ll be done by four,then we’ll all have a nice cup of tea