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Brisbane review - The Wedding Singer: a quality, fun, heartfelt production

By David Wilson

Book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy

Music by Matthew Solar

Lyrics by Chad Beguelin

Directed by Hayley Gervais

Musically directed by Benjamin Tubb-Hearne

Choreography by Victoria Lancaster

Beenleigh Theatre Group

Crete Street Theatre

Season runs until 2 December 2023.

This underrated musical, based on the 1998 film staring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, tells the story of Robbie Hart, New Jersey’s favourite wedding singer whose own fiancé leaves him at the altar, and Julia Sullivan, a kind-hearted waitress who is engaged to a sleazy creep. The audience is transported back to 1985 - a time when greed was good, collars were up, hair was crimped and everyone was either living in a material world or livin’ on a prayer.

The creative team at Beenleigh Theatre has once again delivered a high quality production that was supremely entertaining.

Damien Quick was outstanding as Robbie Hart. He owned the character and the stage, with excellent vocals, plenty of cool moves, and a certain engaging quality that had the audience rooting for him from the outset. Quick’s performance of the iconic opening number “It’s Your Wedding Day”, with the full cast, was outstanding. Alongside his excellent vocals, Quick’s acting was also excellent, expertly capturing the vulnerability of the character and balancing that with perfect comedic timing. A standout performance.

Rachel Love was fabulous, perfectly capturing the sweet innocence of Julia Sullivan. The strength of Love’s portrayal came from her calm, understated characterisation which stood against the high level of action surrounding her on stage. There was a genuine confidence to her strong vocals that shone throughout. In particular, the duet “If I Told You was wonderfully performed by both Love and Quick, with excellent harmonies reflecting their wonderful on-stage chemistry.

Quick and Love were well supported by a number of other high quality performances. Alex Smith’s comedic timing as Sammy was faultless, while Emma Hodis was a crowd favourite as the over-sharing Grandma Rosie. Michael Chazikantis was appropriately sleazy as Wall St shark Glen Guglia, and his performance of “It’s All About The Green” was great. Sam Hocking made a perfect George, stealing many of the scenes he was in with brilliant characterisation, stage presence and perfect delivery. Carly Wilson rocked the character of Linda brilliantly, while Jaime O’Donoghue as Holly was wonderful, with excellent characterisation and some of the best vocals of the show, particularly showcased in “Saturday Night In The City. These performers were also supported by a very strong ensemble and quality dancers, essential in a show such as this.

The confident direction of Hayley Gervais and the experienced choreography of Victoria Lancaster were apparent throughout. In particular, all of the big musical numbers were fabulous. The clever stage never appeared overly busy or chaotic despite the high level of activity, and the quieter moments of the show were given full voice. Set changes were handled effortlessly, never distracting from the excellent visual effects.

Particular mention should be made of the wonderful costuming by Justin Tubb-Hearne. It would be no small undertaking to capture the entire look and feel of a generation but it was done cleverly and to perfection. The unique sound of the 80s was delivered by Benjamin Tubb-Hearne and a very talented orchestra, so expertly that a number in the audience were surprised to learn that the music was being played live!

This is a quality, fun, heartfelt production and I encourage you to see it.


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