I really should start this review with a disclaimer. I absolutely love the movie version of ‘The Wedding Singer.’ I love it as a love letter to the 1980s, it’s use of fashion and music, and the superb cast, Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Billy Idol and the rappiing granny. So as much as I was looking forward to the musical theatre version which is currently at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, there was some sense of trepidation. I needn’t have worried. The Wedding Singer is just glorious, the ultimate feel good night out that has music, comedy and a lovely warm centre,
It’s 1985 and Robbie Hart is a wedding singer, part of a group with his best friends Sammy and George who provide music at nuptials. Robbie is looking forward to his own upcoming wedding to Linda. But when Linda leaves him a ‘Dear John’ letter and literally jilts him at the alter, Robbie’s life falls apart. But support is forthcoming from the lovely Julia, a waitress at many of the weddings he plays at, and the pair start to fall in love. Unfortunately Julia is engaged to the rather odious Wall Street dealer Glen Gulia, and so it seems that the perfectly matched couple will never get together.
There is so much to love about The Wedding Singer. The performances are a joy, with the whole cast just perfect in their roles. Jon Robyns is fantastic as Robbie, warm and funny in his happier times, and frankly hilarious when he loses it during ‘Somebody Kill Me.’ He has a wonderful chemistry with Cassie Compton as Julia, and Cassie herself is just lovely as Julia, sweet and charming throughout. Ray Quinn is a great bad guy as Glen Gulia, and his performance of ‘All about the Green’ is another highlight, whilst the veteran Ruth Madoc is frankly hysterical, I don’t think I will ever get over the sight of Ruth rapping and dabbing.
The supporting cast are also brilliant, with Ashley Emerson (Sammy), Samuel Holmes (George) and Madonna-alike Stephanie Clift (Holly) all stealing scenes and looking like they are totally enjoying themselves. And mention must be made of the numerous supporting roles played by Mark Pearce. Each characterisation he made was memorable and superb, from the bitter drunk brother giving a wedding speech, to the barfly extolling the single life in the ‘Single’ bar scene.
The Wedding Singer nods its head towards 1980s pop culture in so many wonderful ways, from the choreography in the ‘Casulty of Love’ scene with echoes of Thriller, to the priceless ‘Single’ bar scene that could be from an episode of Cheers, with the ‘Single’ song as its theme tune. Combined with the likes of Tina Turner, Mr T and, of course, Billy Idol appearing in those final scenes, and you have a musical that is a real tribute to all that was good about the 1980s (and in the Wall Street scenes with Ray, all that was bad about the decade of greed.)
Funny, feel good and with a fabulous cast, The Wedding Singer is not to be missed. I loved it from start to finish.
THE WEDDING SINGER
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Click here for ticket information