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The Wedding Singer review: genuine laughs and standout performances

Updated: Dec 4, 2021

Review by: Nadia Ribot-Smith

‘The Wedding Singer’ is LUU Stage Musicals Societies own incarnation of the 2006 hit Broadway musical. The musical follows Robbie Hart (Killian Lines) as the titular wedding singer, who shortly after the show begins, is jilted at the alter by his now ex-fiancée Linda (Imogen Chancellor) triggering a downward spiral of self-pity and self-loathing. At the same time, Julia (Nikola Hughes) has just been proposed to by her high status but low commitment boyfriend Glen (Kishan Mehta). As events unfold and Julia tries to help him out of his grief, the two begin to see each other in a romantic light, which complicates things for everyone and forms the basis for what was an incredibly fun and funny night of situational comedy, stand out performances and energetic dance numbers.

All photos in this article by Abby Swain

The show starts out strong, its opening number filled with energy and fun in abundance. We close in on a wedding scene where ‘the wedding singer’ and his group are performing. Lines projects confidently and enunciates well with strong vocals which suit the musical theatre track list, delivering a fantastic entry point to the tone of the show. There’s great comedic timing from the cast, and as the story continues, we are introduced to Julia. Hughes is well cast in the role, bringing an innocence as well as a quiet determination which pays off well at the end, her decision to leave Greg unfolding in a natural and believable way. She also has a strong voice, doing justice to the often-difficult songs.

As a whole, the production is well cast and features a high number of standout performances. Chancellor makes the most of her songs and shines as unstable and obsessive Linda, exaggerating her performance to the level required and deservedly earning one of the loudest claps of the night upon culmination of her second solo song. Katie Allen and Jake Glantz also deserve special mentions. Glantz as the witty friend has great comedic timing and succeeds in the tricky role of producing a fully fleshed character despite having fewer lines than others, nailing his jokes and commanding your attention whenever he enters. Allen is also a delight to watch as Grandma Rosie having real fun with the role and completely embodying her character. From physicality to singing style, she doesn’t drop it for a moment and maintains a consistency with the character that makes her time on stage a joy to watch. Her and Glantz’s song together was the number we didn’t know we needed, both individually shining and sharing the spotlight to create one of the best scenes of the night.

There were some technical issues on the night which unfortunately impeded the strong performances from the cast. For several songs, the instrumental was a little jarring in its introduction and too loud to hear the words of the performers. There were some microphone problems which meant that we missed a lot of the key punchlines which are crucial for maintaining the momentum and energy of the play. This was a real shame but something that I am sure will improve over the productions run.

Besides this, the rest of the production really shined in their respective departments. The costuming deserves a mention for creating eye-catching and interesting outfits for the whole cast. The looks were always consistent with the characters, and I very much appreciated the attention to detail. The group numbers featured cohesive yet distinct looks, blending a variety of eras in a non-jarring way and creating attractive colour palates which helped the group numbers really pop.

The direction and choreography also showed off and I particularly appreciated the unapologetic number of cardboard cut-outs that served as props throughout the play. The direction leaned well into the camp elements of the script which was a benefit to the entire show as did the choreography, which was engaging and inventive, pushing the boundaries of what may be considered traditional musical theatre and embracing its student audience.

In general, the whole cast and crew seemed to have a lot of fun with this production. Taking risks whilst simultaneously not taking themselves too seriously which is exactly what the what the source material requires. A slick and well-rehearsed production featuring minimal slip ups allowed for a feeling of spontaneity and excitement. The cast and crews’ energy translated throughout the show across to the audience to create what was an incredibly enjoyable night, full of genuine laughs and standout performances.

“The Wedding Singer” is playing tonight (3/12/2021) and tomorrow (4/12/2021) at the Riley Smith Theatre. Tickets available via this link.

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