It’s safe to say that any of Adam Sandler’s films are quite like Marmite, you either love them or hate them but ‘The Wedding Singer‘ is probably his most popular. This production takes the same title and plot of the 1998 hit film with the addition of an entirely new score, taking just two songs from the original movie. But don’t let this disappoint you as the new music is highlight of the show. It captures everything the 80’s delivered and provides fun humour along with adding a whole new dimension to the piece.
Seasoned performer Jon Robyns takes on Sandler’s role of the wedding singer Robbie Hart and does so with impeccable energy and comedy timing. Right from the off, Robyns leads this fine cast with a faultless performance. He is the talking point of this show alongside Cassie Compton as a waitress and soon-to-be love interest Julia Sullivan. Compton really is wonderful with an exquisitely perfect performance throughout. Boasting such a unique vocal sound, she brings the biggest essence of musical theatre to the table with some of the best songs in the show such as ‘Someday’.
Ray Quinn is the arrogant and selfish Glen Gulia and is a huge hit with the audience. My presumption was that he would struggle in the role but I was incredibly wrong, he owns the stage with every scene he is in. Vocals were of his usual high standard and his dancing certainly impressed but his acting was the peak of his performance as he captures everything Glen is about wonderfully.
Robbie Harts Grandma Ruth Madoc delivers some of the funniest moments in the show, her rapping skills are certainly something to look forward to. Slutty waitress Holly is now in the capable hands of Tara Verloop after recently stepping into the role without prior notice. She works wonders with the role alongside Compton. I was sadly disappointed with Hannah Jay-Allen’s performance as ex-girlfriend Linda which felt a little under the weather and slightly awkward. Lead guitarist of the wedding band is Ashley Emerson and his portrayal of bad-boy Sammy is hugely entertaining and so is Samuel Holmes as (Boy) George. For me, Holmes delivers the role flawlessly and is by far my favourite character – particularly during the song ‘Single’, the funniest number in the show. Complete praise to the versatile company and to each member of the ensemble who all, at some point, have their moment to shine.
Nick Winston has excelled himself as director and choreographer with this slick, ingenious production. He has provided a seamless flow of storytelling and humour and has choreographed the piece with such originality and high energy that I was itching to get up and join in. Francis O’Connor has done an excellent job at designing the scenery which is a well thought out setting that adds to the production superbly. It is therefore such a shame that the set is incredibly clunky and often drowns out the sound the show with loud scenery strikes. BUT this is a party show and so you do learn to ignore that.
For me, the pinnacle of the performance was Ben Cracknell’s SUPERB lighting design, it really is something special. Somehow, he has managed to use a star cloth to show an aeroplane taking off on a runway – my mind was blown. Each individual cue is perfect, and the simple addition of the down-shooting smoke machines during ‘Saturday Night in the City’ is brilliant.
This show is everything the film was and more, adding more dimensions and even more humour making it a stand-out musical that isn’t a simple ‘film to stage’ jukebox musical – it is a well deserved hit!
This show fully deserves a West End transfer with immediate awards for Jon Robyns, Cassie Compton, Nick Winston and Ben Cracknell.
★★★★ ‘the stand out party of the year full of humour, energy and 80’s mania’.
Watch the official trailer here: youtube.com/watch
‘The Wedding Singer’ is rocking the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham all this week until Saturday 27 May. Book tickets here: atgtickets.com/the-wedding-singer