When the BBC greenlit a little six-episode reality series called The Great British Bake Off to help raise money for the annual Children in Need charity programming block, it could not have imagined the juggernaut it would turn into. There are multiple hit spinoffs in other countries, like The Great Canadian Bake Off and The Great Australian Bake Off, and there are Bake Off: The Professionals, Bake Off, Stands Up To Cancer, GBBO: Masterclass, and GBBO: Holidays. Now, there's a stage show to go along with all that, as Great British Bake Off: The Musical is preparing to open at Everyman theater for a trial run ahead of a possible West End debut.
Love Productions, the company behind GBBO (and spinoffs The Great British Sewing Bee and The Great Pottery Throw Down), recruited the writers behind The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾, Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary, to create the script and the songbook. The score apparently incorporated the famous Bake Off theme that is familiar to viewers, and early reports say the set also follows the design elements from the reality series. But with the show opening starting Friday, June 22, most fans who do not reside in the southwest of England will have to wait for reviews to see what sort of songs emerge from the 16 numbers boasted in the score.
The stage show also follows the reality series in how it crafts its characters. Director Rachel Kavanaugh said in an interview with The Times the stories told are inspired by real-life contestants finding confidence through their experiences baking. "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."
Here's the musical's synopsis:
Follow the trials and tribulations of our bakers, find out who will triumph as Star Baker, and who will fall foul of a soggy bottom. Bursting with laughter and packed full of memorable songs, expect to fall in love all over again with the nation's favourite baking show, in this year's biggest new musical, suitable for the whole family.
According to the Everyman Theater's website cast list, some of the names have been changed from the series to the stage show to preserve the illusion of this being a fantasy tale. For instance, John Owen-Jones, a near-dead-ringer for Paul Hollywood, plays "Phil," while the Mary Berry/Prue Leith-esque Rosemary Ashe plays "Pam." The hosts, played by Jaye Jacobs and Scott Paige, are "Kim and Jim." The rest of the cast includes Catriana Sandison, Charlotte Wakefield, Claire Moore, Damian Humbley, Jay Saighal, Michael Cahill, Simbi Akande, and Aharon Rayner.
On Your Marks, get set... SING! The world premiere of Great British Bake Off: The Musical will have a two-week run from Friday, July 22 - Saturday, August 6, 2022, at Cheltenham's Everyman Theater ahead of its planned West End transfer.