Retro glitz, glam, and fun awaits with this bold and brassy retelling of the Broadway musical, adapted from the 1998 film of the same name. The plot, if you haven’t seen the film, is the classic romantic comedy set-up. Set in the mid-1980s, our protagonist Robbie is a professional wedding singer, a guy who’s paid to spout romantic schmaltz on a daily basis as well as croon the popular classics with bandmates Sammy and George.
This lifestyle is derailed when he is left at the alter by his own fiancé and can no longer sing about love. However, he then finds new love in the form of waitress Julia, but she is engaged to a financier who is all wrong for her. Chaos and musical comedy ensues.
The company does a great job of transporting you back to the 1980s - the costumes are colourful, the cast is upbeat and enthusiastic, and the band fills the room with high energy hits such as ‘It’s Your Wedding Day’, ‘Someday’, ‘A Note from Linda’, and many more. The set design in particular was highly impressive. Despite limited space, an array of sets was made and employed skilfully, from a leopard print bedroom, the interior of an aeroplane, and even a DeLorean car. The performance space was enhanced further by an arch of quirky white squares, featuring exterior projections. This was a simple but effective way of transporting the audience to various locales, from New Jersey’s Buildings, back alley-ways, and names of bride and grooms to be.
While the performance is enjoyable overall, the scene transitions could be tightened up, so that the energy established by the cast from the beginning doesn’t dissipate and the audience’s attention isn’t left to wander. Furthermore, the cast seemed to suffer from a dip of focus and energy after the intermission, which meant the second act lacked the polish and boldness of the first. The company coped well with minor lighting and microphone issues throughout, and perhaps could have been served better with a more truncated story in the second act; one which more closely follows that of the film.
There is clearly a lot of love between the LIDOS cast and company in this production of The Wedding Singer. The actor playing George (Adam Folkard) captured the 80’s fun vibe from the moment the curtain rose, mastering his quirky character and capturing your attention with his amazing stage presence. His partner in crime, the actress playing Robbie’s Grandma, also made some beautifully bold decisions that with have you belly laughing. And the whole ensemble created a wonderfully authentic wedding party atmosphere.
Overall, this production lacked polish, but it definitely won me over with its energy and enthusiasm. It will make you smile, laugh, and ask ‘was my hair really that bad in the 80s’?
Reviewer: Amanda Hodgson
Reviewed: 19th June 2018
North West End Rating: ★★★★