Reviewed by Lisa Saccone
I remember the feel-good 1990s film as a vague haze, much as one remembers long hot summers of childhood. I wondered if the theatre production would tick the box of happiness or, if rain would stop play, so, it was in a somewhat ambivalent frame of mind that I found myself sitting in the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield, to see this star-studded production. In truth, the only name that meant anything to me was Ruth Madoc of TV’s Hi-De-Hi fame, now she had made Saturday evenings fun.
Settling into seats, the none too inspiring telegraph pole that took the stage over, didn’t have the wow factor of the Edwardian auditorium. I think that the ticket price alone could be justified to spend two hours marvelling at the cantilever balconies and stunning rococo plasterwork.
A little later than billed, the telegraph pole disappeared skywards and the stage burst into life, mid 1980s and mid wedding reception. Centre stage, the wedding singer was giving it his all. The cast athletically used the whole stage to full effect, portraying a vibrant and joyful night at “the wedding”. The best-man’s speech was funny and the none too subtle innuendo set the tone for the next two and a half hours.
We were introduced to the main characters and quickly understood their role in our nights entertainment. Skilfully played by Cassie Compton, the sweet-petite Julia, who is desperate to become Mrs Glen Guglia and the main protagonist, Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns), so cruelly, and for us, very amusingly, stood-up at his own wedding.
In seamless set changes, we were transported to alleyways, changing rooms and even at one point, Wall Street. Whilst never to complex, the sets delighted, the clever use of projection and star lit back curtain, placed us in the moment. Sometimes melancholy, but more often, laugh out loud funny, a single line, a word or even just a look would have the audience belly laughing.
The real delight for me, and looking at the demographic of the rest of my fellow audience, were the clothes and make-up, oh how I had loved my ra-ra skirt and big hair, who could forget the poodle perms. Seeing how well some of the cast wore it, I can believe it could make a come-back.
Maybe it’s because Ruth Madoc and I had history, but she stood out as Robbie’s supportive grandmother, however, the absolute star, with mesmerising stage presence, was George (Samuel Holmes) who took the role and made it his, he was gay in a time when gay just meant very happy – he shone a light on how far we had come.
I certainly wouldn’t want to go back permanently, but for a night of over the top song and dance – pure distilled nostalgia. This delightful show, won’t fail to captivate.
Tickets cost from £31 to £39 (booking fees may apply).
The Wedding Singer is at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 18-22 July 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk or call the box office on 0114 249 6000.
Lyceum Theatre, Norfolk St, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S1 1DA | 0114 249 6000