I was back in Northern Stage last night to see Nigel Slater’s Toast, the play based on the book of the same name. I admit I wasn’t in the mood for it: tired, grumpy and really wanting a night in. But I am glad I went – the show was much better than I expected, in turns funny, sweet and moving, with a strong cast.
(Though there could be better labelling around the allergens of the food that was passed out to the audience and a recognition that there’s a difference between having the option not to taste something and having everyone around you eating it: the programme info said that some of the food contained nuts, but made no reference to how widely they’d be distributed. (I have a nut allergy and the smell of nuts can make me very nauseous: the thought of the whole audience opening walnut whips en masse had me retreating to the empty back rows so I could put some distance between myself and everyone eating. (I’d expected a few things passed among a handful of the audience, but everyone got one – curse the show’s generous budget!) When I tweeted about this someone told me there wasn’t walnuts in them anyway these days, which would have been nice to know. If you can put big signs up saying there is haze on stage or a show features smoke effects, how hard is it to say ‘we’ll be handing out walnut whips, although these are now the walnut-free variety?’ When I told an usher I was allergic, she just looked a bit panicky and said ‘well, everyone will be opening them!’ so clearly was no better informed than I was.)
This quibble aside, it’s definitely worth seeing – it’s on till Saturday and then tours.