Four Weddings and an Elvis

Date 23rd March 2018
Society Ponteland Repertory Society
Venue The Memorial Hall, Ponteland
Type of Production Play
Director Jackie Wighton

Report

Author: Michael Avery

This comedy play, written in 2010 by Philadelphia playwright, Nancy Frick, has just one set, a Las Vegas wedding chapel run, for 17 years, by four-times married Sandy, played with warmth but a sardonic, constantly raised, eyebrow, by Lauren Lyon.  Only she appears in all four vignettes, making up the play.  She amusingly expresses frustration, wonder, disbelief and the care she feels for her customers.  Like a short-order waitress, she runs down available options from Star Trek to Elvis in a bored voice, subliminally advising her clients to think.

“The Payback” features a revenge wedding for Bev (Jess Tanner) and Stan (Giles Tanner), marrying to spite their respective spouses for divorcing them and marrying each other.  Bev feels romantic, Stan is more cautious – it’s his money after all!  They choose an Elvis impersonator from the chapel next door who, conveniently happens to be a minister.  Leo Emmerson enters in Elvis costume, wig, sideburns and TCB sunglasses, giving some quick Elvis snippets.  The costume swamped him but he managed to make his personality shine through although I suspect he was more comfortable once he got the gear off.  The players performed well together and got the show off to a good and unpredictable start.

Next, “The Comeback” involves two over-the-hill TV personalities, vainly hoping a wedding will interest the press.  Their belief in their own glamour and entitlement are amusing but a little sad.  Daniel Rutherford plays Lou, the substitute minister who just happens to be an over-the-hill Elvis impersonator.  The character’s amusing but his Elvis bits are less than inspiring.  Carol Emerson is Vanessa and Dario Sancho is Antonio, posing and preening as though their lives depended on it.

Thirdly, “The Real Thing” and it’s definitely the closest we come to it.  Jason Long is Marvin, a nerd familiar with every zip (post) code in America.  His bride, Fiona (played by Amber Covington) is a slightly frightening rock chick, covered in tattoos, spouting obscenities, a tough ex-con. but seems genuinely fond of Marvin.  A scene listing animals that can be sent by post is a hoot.  The entry of her old flame, Fist (Jonny Woollett), brings some tension, him being scary, tough and funny contemporaneously.  Momentarily, it seems he might win Fiona but he was the reason she found herself incarcerated and Marvin somehow wins the day.

Finally, “The Epilogue”, with Sandy ready to marry for the fifth time!  The characters from the previous sections return as guests which might indicate how hard up she is!  The scene also features her illusive constant husband, Ken (John Eltringham), who has rolled across the back of the stage throughout, carrying a recently emptied bottle.  All seems to end happily.

The play ran smoothly and effectively, giving each performer a chance to shine.  The comprised just a moveable reception desk and an arch to pass through.  Costumes and props worked well.  The fight choreography involving Fist and Marvin was impressive.  Snippets of song from the Elvis era proved a little more difficult to sing than most people might imagine but, all in all, an entertaining, amusing evening, with a few home truths thrown in.