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In The Wedding Singer, it’s 1985 and rock-star wannabe Robbie Heart is New Jersey’s favourite wedding singer. He’s the life of the party, until his own fiancée leaves him at the altar.
Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own.
The Wedding Singer is based on the mega-hit film starring Adam Sandler.
REVIEW BY JOHN BURLAND
The Wedding Singer, the musical based on the popular film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, is the story of Robbie Hart, a wedding singer whose own luck in love leaves him desolate, blind to the perfect woman standing right in front of him. Chock full of salutes to 80s pop culture, The Wedding Singer transports us to the New Jersey shore to find true love in a sea of tulle, layered cakes and first dances.
Ah, the ‘80s! A simpler time; Michael Jackson was still alive and at the height of his fame, and the battle was still raging on as to who would have the more successful solo career – George Michael or the other guy from Wham! It was the decade that saw personal computers, the Walkman, CD players, cell phones and home video become widely available. It was a strange and hilarious decade that set the stage for where we are today.
It’s easy to look back and laugh at a decade that is safely in the past, to mock questionable fashion choices, ridiculous commercials and cheesy music. Hindsight is 20/20, though, and who is to say that in 30 years there won’t be a musical set in 2014 that will make endless fun of reality TV and our lack of flying cars.
Once again with The Wedding Singer BrassNeck Theatre has produced a performance that is stunning both from a musical and a chorographical point of view. Filled with humour, powerful 1980s-style music and the inevitable romance, The Wedding Singer is a sure-fire hit for both those who lived through the Eighties and for those who missed out.
Given the inevitable constraints of the stage at Yeadon Town Hall, producer Royston Bayfield has worked wonders with his technical crew to put on a fabulous production that is worthy of gracing any of the theatres in the West End.
Outstanding in the performances of the principals has to be Ben Tomlinson as Robbie. For the two hours of the production he is hardly ever off the stage. A seasoned performer, having acted since the age of four, his timing is superb, as is his singing with a brilliant range – strong for the rock numbers yet gentle for the ballads. He is ably supported by the leading lady, Lisa Simpson as Julia. Again, here is a performer with a brilliant vocal range and when they harmonised together, as in the number If I Told You, here was sheer musical perfection.
Robbie’s two band members, Tom Kyle as Sammy and Adam Folkard as George (A Boy George lookalike) were also excellent with their performances as were Emily Taylor as Linda and Rachel Sowerby as Holly. These six principals were ably supported by Chris Slater as Glen, Christine Castle as Rosie, Robbie’s grandma and Ann Garnett as Angie, Julia’s mother. A further seventeen members of BrassNeck made up the chorus whose contribution was paramount to the overall success of the production with their superb singing and choreography.
Final plaudits must go to Cathy Sweet, the Musical Director, who led her musicians superbly. This is a very complex score at times but they handled it expertly and provided great backing for the principals and chorus. And plaudits also to Donna Woodman, the choreographer, whose dance routines sparkled as much as the glitter balls at the end of the show.
A great show, expertly directed by Royston Bayfield, which I am sure will be enjoyed by the audiences throughout the rest of the week.