An energetic, toe-tapping, feel-good production
Set in New Jersey 1985, and based on the 90s hit movie, The Wedding Singer, written by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin, lights up the Tamworth Landau Forte stage this week by well-loved theatre company TMTC.
The plot of this colourful stage version, directed by Brian Morris, sticks closely with that of the movie. Title character Robbie Hart (Adam Gregory) is a popular wedding singer (and would-be rock star) who makes do by fronting a band that plays at wedding parties and, being in love with the notion of happily ever after, he is perfect for the job. When his skanky financeé Linda (Michelle Gregory) breaks his heart by leaving him stranded at the alter he compensates by attempting to make every wedding party a disaster. Cute waitress Julia Sullivan (Nikki Downs) catches his eye but unfortunately for Robbie Julia already has a boyfriend - Wall Street junk bonds wonder-boy, Glenn Gulia (Chris Kimpton).
Essentially, this is a fast-paced, great big musical. With sharp one-liners, hilarious performances and well-executed dance routines this energetic, toe-tapping, feel-good production will lift your spirits and take you back to an era where big shoulders were in fashion, leg warmers were the norm and hard hair-do’s were on-trend.
With choreography by Lisa Cross, the design includes all the dance floor moves from the 80s, well thought out, and executed by a cast that shares equal enthusiasm and vitality. The proficient on-stage band is competently directed and lead by MD Alex Priestly, bringing that all important live element to the show.
In terms of performance leading man Adam Gregory shows off an impressive range of skills from singing while playing guitar and dancing to slapstick and fabulous comedy-timed acting, playing opposite the delightful Nikki Downs who is perfect for the part in her portrayal of Julia, both with beautiful and complimentary singing voices that top my favourite list of the season.
Sammy (Will Lock) and George (Danny Morris) are the perfect band/soul mates, supporting Robbie through his romantic turmoil, again playing their instruments live and providing strong vocals. Chris Kimpton who plays the worst-boyfriend-ever Glenn Guglia, keeps Julia in limbo whilst playing the super-cheat and his song Its All About The Green only proves he is more interested in big bucks, fat cheques and midnight flights to LAX than his forthcoming marriage.
Sammy’s gf Holly (Jenny Barlow-Jennings), with her Madonna styling, super voice and big personality, is a loyal force to be reckoned with, as opposed to Robbie’s fianceé Linda, played by Michelle Gregory whose portrayal is sassy and selfish, singing A Note From Linda and the hilarious Let Me Come Home with saucy confidence. Grandma Rosie (Ang Goodwin) and Mrs Sullivan (Debbie Gill) complete the principal line up, both playing the grown-up roles with a balance of sensibility and daftness.
With an instantly likeable, retro feeling pop score, its hard to single out any particular song performance, but musical highlights for me included the explosive company’s opening number It’s Your Wedding Day, Move That Thing, performed with hilarity and gusto by pink satin-clad Grandma Rosie (Ang Goodwin) and band mate George (Danny Morris) and the charmingly funny Come Out Of The Dumpster sung effortlessly by Nikki Downs.
Supported by a strong ensemble this production features cheeky performances by Karen Terry, who plays both fake Tina Turner and Bar Mitzvah boy with confidence, oozing with stage presence.
In all, a wildly colourful and fun production, worthy of a ticket, with excellent leads and energy from a cast and production team who know exactly what they are doing.
Runs to 7 April. Signed performance on Friday
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