Joyous nostalgia and amazing mullets beckon
By Jessica Cornish
Growing up idolising Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore in the 1998 motion picture that inspired this musical, I was a little sceptical as to how it would translate onto the stage, but from the moment the lights went up I was hooked. Playback’s production of The Wedding Singer was vibrant, energetic, hilarious and oozed with the colourful spirit of the 80s.
Composed by Matthew Sklar, with lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and a book by Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, The Wedding Singer’s music is what you’d expect, a contemporary/pop musical laced with incredibly catchy melodies – and don’t worry, Adam Sandler’s infamous songs from the motion picture are both there! And if you like gory 80s’ chiffon dresses, plastic crucifixes and curls, this musical has you covered. Stand-out musical items of the night were “It’s Your Wedding Day” and “Casualty of Love” which had electric music and really fun, high-energy movement using a diverse ensemble.
The main cast were all terrific in achieving the difficult task of recreating well-known characters from the screen while bringing their own twist to it. Lead sweethearts, played by Leighton Irwin (Robbie Heart) and Katlin O’Keene (Julia Sullivan) were well cast. Irwin brought a constant high level of energy to his performance whilst belting out pitch perfect notes, and Sullivan had beautiful warmth to her voice and a gentle stage presence that contrast well to her 80s counterparts. The supporting roles were equally excellent and special mention needs to be made of the musical and comedic skills of Dion Kaliviotis (Sammy), Rosie Alexander (Linda), and my personal favourite, the sassy and flamboyant Danny Nercessian (George).
With such a strong performance this means an equally strong production team. Monica Cioccia needs to be commended for her excellent role as director, similarly musical director Allan Hessey for ensuring a night of strong vocal performances supported by impressive live musicians. And of course what good is an 80s’ musical without some dancing? Grace Madderm was the hard-working production choreographer and also played the promiscuous and bubbly Holly.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of sound issues through the entire opening night, which was frustrating for audience and cast alike, no doubt. It was a shame as some key vocal lines were lost to white noise, or were overpowered by the band when microphones would completely cut out. There were a few missed lighting cues and performers not finding their light, however I am confident as the performers and tech crew continue the run, these initial issues will soon iron themselves out.
This is such an incredibly fun and entertaining musical at a intimate venue hidden away on Acland St, St Kilda. Defiantly worth squeezing into your busy schedule!
Venue: Theatre Works, 14 Acland St, St Kilda
Date: 14 Oct 2016 – 23 Oct 2016
Time: Thu to Sat 7.30pm & Sat/Sun 1pm
Price: $38 full / $36 conc / $34 group 10+ [plus booking fee]
Bookings: Please call 03 9534 3388