Thursday, 4 June 2015

Marie Clark Musical Theatre presents The Wedding Singer the Musical

The Wedding Singer the Musical, presented by Marie Clark Musical Theatre
The Arts Theatre, Adelaide.
Performance reviewed May 22, 2015

If you enjoyed the 1998 Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler film, The Wedding
Singer, then it is highly likely that you will enjoy Marie Clark Musical
Theatre's May 2015 production of the Broadway musical, The Wedding Singer the

The Wedding Singer musical remains predominantly true to the original film,
however, some of the storyline is changed, as are the songs; in the musical
version, most original songs from the film are cut, but are replaced with new
songs by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. But, staying true to the original,
the iconic and very well known songs, "Somebody Kill Me" and "Grow Old With
You" are kept...thank goodness for that :)

Director, Max Rayner, on the whole, leads an overall all-star cast, succeeding
in presenting this musical as the fun and comedic musical that it needs to be.
The musical is fun, and left me singing the songs well after the curtain has
fallen (theatre talk).

Having previously played Robbie Hart in Matt Byrne Media's 2008 production of
the same musical, it seems rather fitting that Rohan Watts was selected (and I
don't doubt he would have been delighted with this), to play Robbie Hart again
in this fresh new production. Now seven years on, Watts certainly still has it
in him, perhaps being even better this second time round. He effectively
captures the many different emotions of Robbie, and does a great job with
providing most of the show's comedy. The thing about Watts, also, is his
ability to make the character his own, not appearing to draw from the acting
of Adam Sandler. Watts makes the character his own; he is unique to the role.
Additionally, Watt's live guitar playing adds a whole new aspect to the show.
It is nice to see real playing, rather than an orchestra playing the beats,
and the actor pretending to be the one playing the music. As Sammy and George,
fellow band members of Robbie's band known as "Simply Wed", Sebastian Cooper
and Damien Quick, respectively, were well cast, both capturing the essence of
their character, and knowing how to make the audience laugh.

As Robbie's fiance Linda, Sarah Wildly, is brilliant. Wildly also provides
much comedy, particularly with her solo songs, "Note from Linda" and "Let Me
Come Home", both demonstrating Wildly's strong vocals and comedic ability as
well as her good stage presence. Mention must also go here for the funny
hairdryer effect in the "Note from Linda" song. It is very appropriate, and a
brilliant choice.

Certainly no stranger to amateur musical theatre fans, Tegan Gully is
predominantly well suited to the innocent, light-hearted and slightly naive
character of Julia Sullivan. Gully has a beautiful voice and stage presence,
and the scenes between her and Robbie are very sweet; their chemistry is
excellent. However, at times Gully does tend to overplay Julia's
lightheartedness, becoming rather "ditsy", unnecessarily.

As Julia's overpowering, rude, arrogant and selfish fiance, Glen Guglia, Gavin
Cianci was cast perfectly. Cianci captures the strong emotions necessary for a
character like Glen. He has a sensational singing voice to complement. His
stage presence and selfish nature is very well conveyed in the song "All About
the Green". This song is a perfect ensemble number, and the costumes for this
number are simply outstanding. The "magic" costume change by Robbie during
this song is so very clever also.

In the female supporting role of Holly, Julia's loveable friend, Rachel da
Graca Costa was well suited, effectively portraying Holly's fun and loveable
nature. Further credit must go to Costa, for appropriately dealing with a
significant unintentional wardrobe malfunction which happened to occur in one
of the scenes (remember this is live theatre, so anything can, and sometimes
does, happen). Costa's ability to not bring attention to herself during this
malfunction, shows a true experienced actress.  

Special mention must also be made to the actor who played the American
President impersonator. In this case, impersonator is an understatement, for
the actor portraying this character is just absolutely sensational, keeping
the strict American accent throughout the whole scene; he is incredibly
believable, and one could be forgiven for believing the actor is actually

Unfortunately, though, not all actors were good. The actress playing Grandma
Rosie (a character which differs from the film), was a very bad choice. This
actress was sadly unable to capture the comedy and essence of the elderly
grandma, and the comedic elements of this character fell flat. Similarly, the
actor playing Rosie's partner was no good either. This production could have
perhaps benefited from much older actors playing these parts.

With regards to non-acting, the good thing about a musical of this sort is
that it does not rely on a large scale set to tell the story. Rather, this
particular interpretation utilises a simple, white, multi-levelled set,
complete with a large white screen above it, which is used throughout to
reinforce what was happening on stage. This set also has the orchestra mounted
upon it, which is very effective. The orchestra, led by Ben Stefanoff, is very
good, and in sync with each other. Similarly the success of this musical also
relies in a large part, on the energy of the ensemble. The choreography, led
by Rachel Dow is fantastic, and provides much fun and excitement to the show;
each ensemble member is energetic, and Dow deserves much credit for the fun
dance moves. I was also very impressed with the choice to have a single
illuminated microphone in front of the curtain as the audience are walking
into the theatre.  This choice is a brilliant one, as it immediately reminds
the audience that they are about to see a show about a wedding singer.

In terms of costuming, it is obvious that careful thought went into the
costumes; where appropriate, actors wear very brightly coloured clothing
which reinforce the fun nature of the musical, and conversely wear bland
clothing when the scenes are not positive ones. Additionally, the dresses for
the brides are brilliant and just beautiful, any fiance would be delighted to
see a woman dressed in such a dress walking down the aisle on their wedding

Overall, this production is a real hit, and I would hope that in coming
nights, the theatre will have more patrons than it did for opening night. So,
let the cast and crew of Marie Clark Musical Theatre take you to another place
in your mind, where you can laugh and tap your feet, while singing along in
your head (or out loud if you feel so led). Let them help "all your troubles
melt away", if that be only for a few hours. But, it's likely the songs will
remain in your head for longer than that; the songs are very catchy.

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