Writer: Emma Culshaw & David Paul
Director: Sylvie Gatrill
Reviewer: John Roberts
Take one bridal shop in St Helens, add a heavy dose of Country and Western music and soak it with plenty of scouse humour and you have the ingredients for the Theatre Royal’s latest home-grown comedy. It might not be the most sophisticated of productions, its most certainly rough around the edges but the cast pour every ounce of energy into this crazy show to ensure audiences don’t leave with an Achy Breaky Heart.
The story takes place solely in Dolly’s Dream Dresses, a bridal shop that is run by brother and sister team Jolene (Leanne Campbell) and Sue (Danny Taylor), The latter still upset at being jilted at the altar by Elvis impersonator Hank (Joshua Ford), and the former moping around the shop due to the ever-increasing time away from his husband Mikey (Divina De Campo) who is working in the states. If that wasn’t enough to keep a plot from going into overdrive, shop assistant Faye (Olivia Sloyan) is having to deal with a plethora of brides-to-be and their entourages played by Chrissy Rock, Jenna Sian O’Hara and Emma Vaudrey as well as dealing with her own gambling-obsessed husband.
Achy Breaky Bride combines every conceivable character and plot cliché known to comedy writers and while on paper it feels like it should be a horrendous car-crash it actually pulls together rather well, one feels this is more to do with the casts ability to wrangle every ounce of comedy from their roles (Rock in-particular) and run with whatever they have been given to work with. Director Sylvie Gatrill, on the whole, has brought us a fast-paced production, but she seems to struggle to find smooth transitions between dialogue and song, meaning the shows musical numbers feel slightly out of place to the rest of the show.
That said the cast deliver their numbers brilliantly. Campbell belts out some classic tunes pitch perfectly (one just wishes that she stops breaking the fourth wall so much in the show) and Sloyan slays with her musical renditions. Taylor’s performance is hilariously camp and it’s surprising how well he suits bright pink and leopard print. Strong support also comes from De Campo and Ford.
As night’s out at the theatre go, you can’t go wrong with Achy Breaky Bride, it provides everything an easy-going night should be, no thinking, just pure unadulterated fun and sometimes that’s all you need.
Runs until 8 June 2019 | Image: David Munn Photography