Everything you need to know about 'The Great British Bake Off Musical' in the West End
From how to get The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets to when to see the show in London, here’s your ultimate guide to The Great British Bake Off Musical.
The nation’s favourite baking show is now a hit musical, and all of those exacting judges, goofy presenters, star bakers and soggy bottoms are coming to the West End in spring 2023. The Great British Bake Off Musical had its triumphant premiere at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham this summer, starring West End leading man John Owen-Jones as a silver-fox judge who might just bear a passing resemblance to Paul Hollywood – and, happily, Owen-Jones reprises his role for the London transfer.
The musical is co-created by Anna Beattie and Richard McKerrow, and features a book and score by the award-winning writing team of Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary – putting into song all of those dreams, dramas, showstoppers and innuendos that fill the Bake Off tent and have millions of us glued to our TV screens each week.
Who will triumph with their signature bake, and who will crumble under the pressure? If you’re a fan of the original series, or if you’re just excited to see a new, original British musical in the West End, make sure you’re ready: on your marks, get set – book.
Book The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets on London Theatre.
What is The Great British Bake Off Musical about?
This musical theatre version of the enduring baking show, which first hit our screens in 2010 and has since run for 13 series, follows the familiar pattern of Bake Off. A group of amateur bakers have been selected to compete in the show, turning out a variety of confections in order to make it through each week and, hopefully, be crowned the winner.
The musical sticks closely to this competition format, but uses it to introduce different characters and explore why baking is such an important part of their lives. That includes the baker who can’t have children, another who uses baking to reconcile his mixed heritage, and, adorably, two contestants who fall in love. Like the real Bake Off, there’s a fascinating mix of ages and backgrounds, which comes through both in the bakes and the glimpses into people’s life stories.
The bakers’ efforts are scrutinised by two judges: Phil Hollinghurst (aka Paul Hollywood) and Pam Lee (aka Prue Leith). It’s a great excuse to lovingly spoof that iconic pair. Plus the show features presenters Jim and Kim, capturing the comic vibe of Bake Off’s presenting duos – either Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, who helmed the original BBC series, or the Channel 4 incumbents: first Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, currently Fielding and Matt Lucas.
Where is The Great British Bake Off Musical playing?
After premiering in Cheltenham, The Great British Bake Off Musical is coming to the West End. The show will play at the Noel Coward Theatre in London – which is situated in St Martin’s Lane, near Leicester Square – from 25 February to 13 May 2023.
How long is The Great British Bake Off Musical?
The running time of The Great British Bake Off Musical is 2 hours and 5 minutes, with a 20-minute interval. That’s on the shorter side for a West End show, meaning plenty of time to grab a bite afterwards once you’ve worked up an appetite!
What days is The Great British Bake Off Musical playing?
The Great British Bake Off Musical plays eight shows a week at the Noel Coward Theatre: evening performances on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus matinees at 2:30pm on Thursday and Saturday, and a 3pm matinee on Sunday. To find out more about the complete performance schedule and show times, visit the Great British Bake Off Musical page on London Theatre.
When did The Great British Bake Off Musical premiere?
It was a sweet treat for theatregoers in Cheltenham, who had the first opportunity to see The Great British Bake Off Musical this summer. The show premiered at the Everyman Theatre on 23 Jul. 2022 and it ran for two weeks, ending on 6 August.
Following its successful run in Cheltenham, the show now transfers to the West End, where it will make its London debut at the Noel Coward Theatre.
Who wrote The Great British Bake Off Musical?
Appropriately for such a British institution, the show has a homegrown writing team. Jake Brunger wrote the book and lyrics for The Great British Bake Off Musical, and Pippa Cleary composed the music. The award-winning pair, who met at Bristol University, have previously collaborated on shows like a musical version of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13¾.
The Great British Bake Off Musical also has the backing of Love Productions, the production company which makes the Bake Off TV series. If you listen carefully, you might just hear that familiar theme tune…
The Great British Bake Off Musical Characters
The show’s characters are fun, fictionalised versions of the kind of contestants we regularly see on Bake Off – plus the show’s judges and presenters. See if you can spy any similarities with the real people!
Phil Hollinghurst: Phil is a swaggering, Scouse, silver-fox judge with a steely gaze and high standards. Remind you of anyone? Yes, it’s the musical’s take on long-time alpha-male judge Paul Hollywood, renowned for his stern critiques, love of bread, and magic handshake.
Pam Lee: Poised, stylish and sharp-tongued, fellow judge Pam is also fond of a tipple – a quality shared by both current Bake Off judge Prue Leith and her predecessor Mary Berry. She and Phil are a well-honed double act, just as the judges are on the actual show.
Kim and Jim: Kim and Jim are the presenters of the musical’s version of Bake Off. They’re a silly, clowning pair, who offer comic commentary on the show’s various baking challenges and help us understand the bakers better.
Izzy: Izzy is one of the contestants on this fictional Bake Off. She’s a well-off Cambridge history of art student, and, as a fiercely competitive baker, is perhaps the closest we get to a villain in this otherwise kindly show.
Ben: Policeman Ben is another contestant on the show. He is a gentle widower and single parent to nine-year-old Lily. During the course of the series, he forms a romantic attachment to Gemma.
Gemma: Gemma is a carer, and a fellow contestant on Bake Off. A Blackpool woman, she’s shy and lacking in confidence at the beginning, but gradually comes out of her shell during the series – with the support of Ben.
Francesca: Skilful contestant Francesca is Italian. She eventually opens up to confess her driving reason for baking: it helps her to cope with her grief over not being able to conceive a child.
Babs: Fellow contestant Babs is an outspoken, irreverent Cockney grandma from London’s East End, who has been married three times. She develops a crush on judge Phil (and who can blame her?).
Hassan: Hassan, another talented contestant, is just 17 and an A-Level student. He was a child refugee from Syria, and his baking helped him to develop a sense of belonging in his adopted home of Birmingham.
The show also features two more contestants: the camp but sensitive Russell, and the hash-loving, eco-conscious hipster Dezza.
The Great British Bake Off Musical Songs
There are 16 songs in The Great British Bake Off Musical. The original songs in The Great British Bake Off Musical include:
“Slap It Like That” – Phil
“In Grow” – Francesca
“Rise” – Gemma
“I’d Never Be Me Without You” – Phil and Pam
Major productions of The Great British Bake Off Musical
The premiere production of the show at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham was directed by Rachel Kavanagh and designed by Alice Power; both return for this West End transfer to the Noel Coward Theatre.
The original cast featured John Owen-Jones as Phil, Rosemary Ashe as Pam, Jaye Jacobs and Kim, Scott Paige as Jim, Simbi Akande as Izzy, Damian Humbley as Ben, Charlotte Wakefield as Gemma, Claire Moore as Babs, Aharon Rayner as Hassan, Catrina Sandison as Francesca, Michael Cahill as Russell, Jay Saighal as Dezza, and Ariella Elkins-Green as Lily.
For the London run in 2023, most of the company are reprising their performances, including Owen-Jones, Moore, Paige and Humbley.
Fun facts about The Great British Bake Off Musical
If you know Bake Off well, you’ll be incredibly impressed with how designer Alice Power has re-created the famous tent for the stage show – complete with bunting, pastel colours, and workbenches with the iconic KitchenAid mixers.
Power and her team have also conjured up a mouth-watering array of realistic baked goods: you’ll definitely be pining for a cake by the interval. In fact, this might be the tastiest musical in the West End since Waitress. Sugar, butter, flour… delicious.
Although generally a lovely show, Bake Off has had its moments of stress — and you might well recognise some of those in the musical version, as contestants grapple with challenges like making ice cream on one of the hottest days of the year. Phew!
Viewers also love spotting the innuendos in this wholesome programme – and there are plenty to find. Likewise, that cheeky humour pervades the Bake Off musical, so keep an ear out for any naughty bits.
How to get The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets
If this tasty show sounds like the icing on your West End cake, then get booking pronto. The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets are available now, and the show is playing at the Noel Coward Theatre from 25 February to 13 May 2023.
Book The Great British Bake Off Musical tickets now on London Theatre.
Photo credit: The Great British Bake Off Musical (Photos courtesy of production)
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