Lowry Theatre Salford
23 May 2018 to 02 June 2018
This is a true story. Nigel Slater is one of our best loved cookery writers but not a professional chef - its all in the simplicity, intuition and heart. It took him ten years of boyhood happiness, then despair and determination to get there. This is the story of "Toast".
In the l960s, from aged seven, Nigel, a single son, was fascinated by his mother's cookery books, especially Marguerite Patten's "Cookery in Colour". He learned the recipes off by heart and the dye was cast.
It takes two-and-a-half hours to tell this happy/tragic story with a tad early anxious, Sam Newton, initially in short trousers - but his confidence soon took off. Sam has a splendid supporting cast of five, each taking on several fast-moving roles - boy do they draw you in. Lovely Mum (Lizzie Muncey) dies, another Mum, tarty Joan (Marie Lawrence) moves in (a show-off cook) and the cake cutters of rivalry are drawn. Nigel is deeply unhappy but despicable Dad (Stephen Ventura) has no idea how to cope, selfish, controlling and violent, knocking Nigel about.
The wide-sized set is seriously practical - a clever construction of a mock kitchen (no fancy modern gadgets) with just one or two opening storage doors and drawers. Working surfaces roll about on castors for "prepping" - essential for Nigel's foray into his first professional foody flourish. Sam Newton does the cooking with immaculate precision and accompanying steam. You will have guessed that the main ingredient is "Toast" but with an adventurous topping. It's well worth tasting.
Reviewer: Diana Stenson