IF you haven't seen the musical Waitress before here's my tip - go and check out this American diner.

There you will find a story that has a beginning, middle and an end - or in this case a starter, main and dessert.

It is the story (based on the 2007 film) of Jenna - a likeable waitress with a gift for pie-making. She dreams of having her own pie shop one day - but there are hurdles in her way.

Jenna, played wonderfully well by versatile actress Chelsea Halfpenny of Casualty and Emmerdale fame (as well as the stage show 9-5) has a couple of secrets she won't serve up to the array of characters who frequent the Deep South eaterie.

Like everyone in life she craves happiness - in her case just enough to get by ... she's not the greedy type.

But she has enough on her plate: an abusive husband called Earl (with a tattoo across his chest but no fixed job) and there's also the unwelcome news she is pregnant.

Her friends at work are a great source of suppport and humour. Wise-cracking Becky (Wendy Mae Brown) and Dawn (Everlyn Hoskins) both raise plenty of laughs in their respective high-energy scenes.

And they sing beautfully on such numbers as Opening up and A soft place to land.

Daydreaming Dawn meets eccentric army renactor Ogie (George Crawford) who romances her with some of the oddest, nerdiest courting lines. But it dawns on Dawn that he is Mr Right.

Ogie's star song Never ever getting rid of me is one of many highlights.

Meanwhile it gets hotter in and out of the kitchen as Jenna - our heroine - falls in love with handsome doctor Pomatter played by Busted superstar Matt Jay-Willis.

Liverpool's Michael Starke is impresive as the wise old owl Joe - who reads his paper, passes compliments to Jenna and knows exactly what is going on around him.

Michael , who has made a name for himself in musicals post (Brookside and Corrie) joins Jenna in a lovely dance number Take it From an Old Man.

The 16 songs, played by an outstanding six-piece orcestra, are poppy and although not of the swingalong variety many feature sweet harmonies and there is one absolute show stopper in Jenna's centre stage ballad She used to be mine. Chelsea Halfpenny (to coin a phrase) deserves a star baker apron for this tasty treat.

Waitress is funny and sad while also being laugh-out-loud and saucy, too, as well as inspirational. Now that's not a bad list for any musical menu.

Globe verdict: Four stars. Fabulously full-filling!

Waitress is at Liverpool Empire until Saturday. Tickets from the box office on 0844 871 7615