The Baker’s Wife is based on the film ‘La Femme Du Boulanger’ by Marcel Pagnol and Jean Giono. It is set in a rural, isolated village in 1930s France. The villagers congregate in the local café and spend their days constantly bickering with each other.
Whilst they argue about trivial matters Denise the Café owner muses that nothing ever changes. However an air of excitement comes to the village when they welcome the new town baker (Gary Bland) and his beautiful wife Genevieve (Holli Paige Farr). Things seem perfect for a while, the villagers have their bread and when a scandal erupts involving Genevieve and the Mayor’s handsome young handyman Dominique (Adam Redford) the villagers really have something to gossip about.
Although the central story of the Baker and his wife is pleasantly engaging, it is when the ensemble comes together that this production really excels. The contrasting characters that make up the village community are a sheer joy to watch.
Overseen by Musical Director Kieran Stallard, the musical numbers maintain a French lilt whilst the cast inject the right amount of humour and pathos as required. From the tuneful classic ‘Meadowlark’ to the harmonious ‘Chanson’, Schwartz is one of the best writers for female singers there is but again, it is the ensemble numbers that really stand out, in particular ‘Romance’ and ‘If it wasn’t for you’.
In the intimacy of the Drayton Arms theatre the set design worked exceedingly well, merging the Baker’s house and bakery together with the café and the village square without it feeling cluttered or confusing. An occasional clever projection and also the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the theatre is used to great effect to the warm appreciation of the audience.
I knew that The Baker’s Wife was a musical with some pretty fine songs, but I am delighted to find that it is altogether an utterly charming show and this production produced by MKEC Productions is well worth seeing.
Review by Sammi O’Neill
The Baker’s Wife; A lesser known musical from the composer of Wicked. The production will be opening on Tuesday 16th June until Saturday 4th July at the Drayton Arms Theatre in Kensington, London.
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Book by Joseph Stein
A musical based on the film “La Femme du Boulanger” by Marcel Pagnol and Giono. A humorously endearing show from the composer of the blockbuster musical Wicked.
Set in 1930s rural France, this charming tale tells the story of a bickering village that has been struggling without bread since the death of its baker. When Aimable and his younger wife Genevieve arrive to re-open the bakery, the villagers think that all of their problems are over. But when Genevieve is lured away by passionate desire, it is up to all of the inhabitants to work together to put the heart – and bread – back into their community.
This delightful gem of a musical features a characteristically witty and tuneful score from composer and lyricist Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Godspell), capturing a truly French feel, and pairing that with clever lyrics to fit the lively characters. An uplifting story of love and loaves, The Baker’s Wife is a must-see for all musical theatre fans.
MKEC Productions; set up in 2014 by Marc Kelly and Elizabeth Chadwick, aims to produce high quality and accessible London fringe theatre. Marc and Elizabeth met during their time at University where they both studied Musical Theatre. Marc and Elizabeth have performed in the UK and around the world and have now come together to form MKEC Productions. Along with their resident Musical Director, Kieran Stallard, The Baker’s Wife is sure to be a truly entertaining evening.
“The Baker’s Wife is a musical comedy, two of my favourite things, so working on this show is a joy. The Baker’s Wife explores real emotions and problems and how they are overcome, which works so well in an intimate setting. The production team have had great fun using innovative designs and ideas to bring this fantastic show to life in the fringe thetare, The Drayton arms.
Elizabeth Chadwick, Producer
“I could not be more excited to bring this show to London again. It is one of Schwartz best, yet underrated scores and we hope to provide it with the perfect setting and cast. Working with Elizabeth and Kieran, and the rest of the creative team is such a joy and this will most certainly come across in the piece. I urge all Schwartz fans to see this endearing musical.”
Marc Kelly, Director