Written by Amy Beecham
Who had the Great British Bake Off being turned into a feel-good musical on their 2022 bingo card?
As we continue to slog through this heatwave, we can’t help but think that Bake Off may just be filming their (very sticky and typically dramatic) chocolate week episode as we speak. Is there any slice of TV greater than the suspense and tension that comes from watching bakes either make it or break it in the 30°C heat of that tent? We think not.
If there’s one good thing about summer coming to an end, though, it’s that we know a new series of Bake Off is just around the corner. While there isn’t a confirmed release date for Bake Off 2022, we may have something to fill the pastry and cake-filled hole in our viewing schedules.
Yes, you heard us right. The Great British Bake Off is being turned into a stage musical – and it’s gearing up for its debut this week.
The new stage show, titled Great British Bake Off: The Musical, is premiering at Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, this Friday 22 July. It’ll run for two weeks before making its way to London’s West End.
The musical will follow the format of the beloved Channel 4 programme and see amateur bakers compete to impress the judges and battle their way to be crowned as the ultimate star baker.
Anyone who follows GBBO knows well that it’s often the breeding ground for high emotion, nail-biting drama and cheeky humour, so what better combination for what we’re already calling the feel-good show of the year.
The show stars John Owen-Jones (Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera) and Rosemary Ashe (Les Miserables, The Phantom Of The Opera) who will lead a company of over 30 actors, including the Olivier-nominated Claire Moore and Charlotte Wakefield. Joining them are Simbi Akande, Michael Cahill, Damian Humbley, Jaye Jacobs, Scott Paige, Aharon Rayner, Jay Saighal and Catriana Sandison, alongside a live orchestra.
Per the show’s synopsis, eight bakers will be featured in the story, alongside two judges and two presenters (the formers likely modelled after judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, and hosts Noel Fielding and Matt Lucas).
“Take eight amateur bakers, add two presenters, two iconic judges, the most delicious original score, and the result is the ultimate showstopper!” the site reads. “Find out who will triumph as Star Baker, and who will fall foul of a soggy bottom. Expect heart-warming characters, ounces of laughter and mouth-watering music in this brand-new and original British musical, suitable for the whole family.”
Great British Bake Off: The Musical will also feature an original score written by the award-winning writing duo Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, as well as West End stars and musicians. The musical will be produced by Mark Goucher, whose other touring productions include Hairspray and Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert.
Goucher said: “The TV phenomenon Great British Bake Off gets to the heart of the nation, and for a long time I felt that it could work wonderfully well on the stage.
“We started working on the production a couple of years ago and with this talented creative team and in association with the TV show’s creator, I hope we have created a musical comedy that will win over our audiences here at the Everyman Theatre.”
Like the series, it’s fun for all of the family but will, of course, include some familiar elements on-stage also: the pastel benches, the iconic theme tune, the determined young baker. Speaking about the production, director Rachel Kavanaugh told The Times that several of the stories have been inspired by real-life tales of contestants finding confidence through their baking.
She said: “People sometimes bake for profound reasons, and sometimes practical reasons. One character in the show bakes because she’s got 17 grandchildren, and others bake for reasons more to do with loss or something missing in their lives. Baking is also a generous thing to do, and you’re doing it for other people. We explore how you make relationships through baking.”
If we get even an ounce of the joy that the likes of Giuseppe, Rahul, Jurgen and Nadiya gave us out of the performance, we’ll be happy.
Tickets are on sale now for the Cheltenham run, currently scheduled from 22 July though 6 August 2022.
Images: Channel 4
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