Book: Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy
Music: Matthew Sklar
Director: Nick Winston
Reviewer: Dominic Corr
June – the heart of wedding season. For some, weddings are the culmination of love, for others, it’s an event you trudge through for dry cake and even drier wine. Based on the film of the same name, The Wedding Singer is something to look forward to if you’re okay with some well-hidden gems in a ‘by the book’ plot. Ridiculous, dripping with nostalgia but generally, just simple musical fun.
Robbie Hart, our titular wedding singer, lives in his grandmother’s (Ruth Madoc) basement. Playing gigs, he falls for waitress Julia who in turn is engaged to wall-street city-slicker Glen (Ray Quinn). What is, at its heart, a ‘copy and paste’ romantic comedy, conceals humour by the bucket-load. We know the ending, who will end up with whom but that doesn’t matter. Our journey through some unexpectedly clever moments, funny songs, and solid choreography make up for the story.
More than just the vocals, The Wedding Singer is a visual production. Completely unexpected, but the effort involved from Cracknell’s lighting design sets off sparks for the production. It screams eighties disco, garish, but oh so kitsch. Rather than just providing colour and fun visuals it helps set the tone of the musical numbers. Large green countdowns filter down through effects, conveying the Wall Street offices for All About The Green.
Speaking of which, the numbers created by Chad Beguelin and Matthew Sklar are original, further the story and mostly exceptional. The highlight of the first act is every pessimist’s dream number Casualty of Love. Grim humour lit strikingly with deep reds against a wedding scene and has all the power of angsty rock. Comic writing rules the second act, both Single and Move that Thang start off as witty ditties and quickly descend into show stealers.
If your narrative revolves around music, more specifically a wedding singer, complete with band, then it’s only fair to ask – please consider live instruments on stage. While John Robyns, Stephanie Clift and Samuel Holmes have excellent vocals, cracking comic timing and turn in solid performances, the band scenes are a let-down when it’s clear the orchestra provides the keyboard and guitar numbers. At the very least, conceal this fact better, for this, credit is due to the orchestra in stepping in for the band.
The Wedding Singer rises above its origins – it has masses of ideas and what may seem a paint-by-numbers plot, has moments of hilarity, great vocals and some unique songs.
Runs until 10 June 2017 | Image: Contributed