There really aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe this show. Not to go OTT on enthusiasm, but The Wedding Singer is exceptional: light-hearted, hilarious, toe-tapping, catchy, heartwarming, talented, clever and perhaps the best musical I have ever seen*.
The premise is simple – wedding singer Robbie Hart is a true romantic until he is jilted at the alter, and finds his love for weddings (and romance altogether) fading fast. Meanwhile, his waitress friend Julia Sullivan is all loved-up with Wall Street’s finest Glen Gulia… but is he the right match? Cue obvious romantic interest between Julia and Robbie and a heartbreakingly cute ending which, yes, seems a little predictable, but that doesn’t make it any less adorably perfect.
Based on the classic Adam Sandler film (co-written by the very talented Tim Herlihy), you can expect all the loveliness of the film and the added bonus of catchy original songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. The cast are all perfectly suited for their roles, chosen by Jim Arnold CDG, and directed with tight skill by Nick Winston.
Jon Robyns captures the not-so-hopeless romantic Robbie Hart perfectly. His effortless energy and sparky stage presence is lovely to watch and the audience roots for him throughout. His cute relationship with the adorable Julia, played by Cassie Compton, makes her relationship with the sickeningly irritating Glen Gulia even more infuriating. Glen is played by Ray Quinn and, wow, what a talent. Though a fairly small role for a fairly big name, Quinn struts the stage with a show-stealing presence and his number, All About The Green, is particularly fantastic.
I’m not normally a fan of the dirty old grandma role, but Ruth Madoc makes Robbie’s nan, Rosie, a truly loveable feisty grandma. Her rap duet with the gloriously camp Samuel Holmes brings the house down. Robbie and Julie’s sidekicks Holly and Sammy are also played with sass by Stephanie Clift and Ashley Emerson. Both roles have the propensity to be irritating, but the cast put their own twist on the roles and make them real, which is a heartwarming route to take for such a jokey musical.
The ensemble are also fantastic, each adding their own stamp to the production and given the chance to shine. The choreography is a little loose in style sometimes, which creates a dip in energy, but this is soon picked by up by roaring numbers such as Saturday Night in the City. The set seamlessly allows the audience to move from wedding venues to back alleyways to Robbie’s basement bedroom, and the lighting is for the most part in keeping with the setting of the scenes. Whoever was operating the spotlight, however, must have left a work experience student in charge… the spotlight whizzes about and misses the cast on several occasions. It would be funny if it wasn’t embarrassing, and if the show wasn’t so darn magical.
This really is a show that MUST be on your must-see radar. It’s got everything you could possibly ask for – pure talent, pure energy and pure joy.
Catch the show at Leeds Grand Theatre this week until 26th August before it’s too late… don’t miss out on your chance to party like it’s 1985!
*apart from Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, which everyone knows I have a very soft spot for.