Wednesday, 5 February 2020

REVIEW: The Wedding Singer at the Wembley Park Theatre

Based on the 1998 hit movie, The Wedding Singer settles down for a couple of weeks in Troubadours Wembley Park Theatre. The Theatre, which was only founded in 2018, is the new building on the theatre scene. It is located in the former Fountain Studios, which housed shows such as The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. My first trip to this space and I very impressed, the front of house space creates a more sociable and relaxing environment. The actual auditorium was closer to a cinema layout for this show rather than a theatre; the seats were comfy with drink holders in the seats in front and everybody had enough space. For someone who visits theatres regularly this was a strange but very welcomed change. Also, the staff were friendly and enforced the welcoming and relaxing atmosphere of the space. 

But unfortunately the wonderful venue can’t save this show. 

Robbie (Kevin Clifton), a Wedding Singer, gets dumped by his FiancĂ©e (Erin Bell) on his Wedding Day and has to climb back to normality where he realises the love of his life has right in front of him all along. But she’s engaged to someone else. He flies to Vegas to stop the marriage and everyone lives happily every after. Sounds thrilling, right?

The story is so basic, it may be an entertaining Rom-Com but as a show it has no substance. There is no message and we learn nothing from this piece. In theatre we have to know what were are trying to say to the audience, a clear message is key but the only thing I got from this was that we should definitely leave 80’s fashion in the 80’s. 

Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin have written an interesting and cool score but along with Beguelin and Tim Herlihy’s Book it turns to bland and boring. There is no need for this story, certainly not in 2020. 

Directed and Choreographed by Nick Winston, who usually pulls it out of the bag, this isn’t such a hit. The choreography was brilliant and wonderfully performed by a slick and full out ensemble but the direction was basic and dull. 

Kevin Clifton is good in the show, his vocals may not be terribly strong but he has his good moments and his energy was great for the show. 

As his love interest, Rhiannon Chesterman really has some golden vocal
moments. Her belt is out of this world and she really is a wonderful fit for the part. 

Jonny Fines as Glen Gulia was almost a carbon copy of his performance in Annie, but it still worked for the character and he was also able to show off his dancing skills in this production. 

A mention must go to Erin Bell (Linda) and Andrew Carthy (George, Robbie’s band mate); they really were two highlights of this production. Funny characters who did the best they could with direction and material. 

Even though this show has a talented cast who dance the show incredibly, unfortunately they couldn’t save the uninspired direction and outdated and boring book. 

Review by Mark Swale 

Rating: ★★

Seat: G35 | Price of Ticket: £45
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