I first came across Nigel Slater by his cooking shows, but I fell in love with his character and story when I watched the film Toast on BBC back in 2010. Since then, Nigel’s love of cooking and story has stuck with me, and I was very excited when I found out about the Lowry putting on the first ever stage production of the tale.
Based on the life of the award-winning food writer and journalist, Toast tells the tale of a young Nigel and how his love for baking mince pies and Christmas cake turns into his career.
Henry Filloux-Bennett’s script is marvellous and joined with Jonnie Riordan’s splendid direction. Toast is a spectacular performance piece, not just a play. With all elements of entertainment squeezed into two and a half hours, the audience is taken on a whirlwind of emotions with the cast.
Riordan’s stylistic opening, with quickly moving set pieces and the trust between the actors as they climb over and onto them is remarkable. The teamwork and ensemble effects throughout this show are smooth, slick and mesmerising to watch.
The small but talented cast is made up of Lizzie Muncey, Stephen Ventura, Marie Lawrence and Andy Brady, all who change characters quicker than you can say Toast! Sam Newton takes on the lead role of Nigel and is remarkable at it. Seeing the young chef grow up from a slightly awkward nine-year-old child with a passion for baking with his mum to a determined and an eager to learn young chef is a heartwarming tale.
I cannot say which part was my favourite, as I enjoyed it all. Throughout the show, the audience is treated to some homemade sweet treats and taken on a trip down memory lane. Angel Delight. The squelch of jelly. All senses are triggered by this piece – even smell as Nigel cooks a dish live on stage. I have never watched someone cook grilled mushrooms on toast, but Sam Newton had the audience on the edge of their seats.
This is a production that should be taken around the UK and even to the West End. A marvellous story and even better storytelling. Don’t miss this production.
Toast is playing at The Lowry until Saturday 2nd June. Information and tickets can be found here.