Another fund-raising attempt to bring a successful stage show online, this adaptation of Nigel Slater’s autobiography is a radio play spiced up with some lovely animation from a company called Dusthouse.
Should you wish, a ticket can include a recipe you can cook and a Walnut Whip to enjoy while watching. But the show’s success, as director Henry Filloux-Bennett appreciates, comes from Slater’s writing.
An appealing author, whose work is full of honesty, observation and heart. Slater manages – for the most part – to avoid making his nostalgia cloying. The depiction of his family, carefully portrayed from a child’s perspective, make strong characters for Lizzie Muncey and Stephen Ventura as his mum and dad, while a cooking cold war with his stepmother proves a highlight.
There’s a good deal of sweet humour about middle-class life in the 1960s. And heartbreak, with his mother’s early death. Notably, the homophobia Slater experienced is tackled with a light touch – the idea of “girl’s sweets” surely raises smiles of recognition. Ending with an optimism that makes Toast a comforting and safe affair, it is clear that the parallel with food of the title is not lost on its author.