The Wedding Singer
|Date||5th September 2023|
|Society||Pied Pipers Musical Theatre Club|
|Venue||ADX Theatre Cambridge|
|Type of Production||Musical|
|Musical Director||Sam Kirby|
|Written By||book by Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Chad Beguelin|
Author: Julie Petrucci
The Pied Pipers always look to provide a variety of musical entertainment and with ‘The Wedding Singer’, which is based on the 1998 film of the same name, they could not have provided more of a contrast to Carousel, their earlier production this year.
With so many scene changes, The Wedding Singer represents a significant challenge in all elements of set design, (Nightclubs, Wedding venues, Garbage Dumpsters, Beds) and large props. The staging was kept minimal with an impressive raised stage area with several steps as a permanent feature. Anything extra needed was flown in or rolled on. The myriad of scene changes were all executed swiftly by members of the cast. The lighting design (James Ireland assisted by Serena Povia) was first-class with good use of spots. Sound (Matthew Stratford consultant Nick Hall) too was excellent with the band kept as a very satisfactory level. Never too loud which is important when lyrics need to be heard to be appreciated. One or two first night body mic blips but nothing to worry about.
Great work from ‘the pit’ was provided by MD Sam Kirby and his 12 piece band. Sam’s vocal coaching of the whole cast was evident throughout the night as was the exceptionally good choreography developed by Vikki Jones.
Robbie Hart, at the centre of the story, is on stage most of the time and Hector Wheatley made this role his own. He is a great singer, full of confidence and very believable as the small-time rock star who seems to have lost his way. Saskia Edwards as Julia, the girl who helps Robbie get back his self-belief, was absolutely excellent. Totally believable with a great singing voice and a good feel for delivering a comic line (or lyric).
As the other two members of the ‘Wedding Band’ Maciek Shasha was convincing as bass player Sammy and Matt Brown seemed very at ease in his role as George - the Boy George tribute the script calls for. Alex Stokoe brought exactly the right level of sleaze to his portrayal of Glen with his personal highlight being All About the Green.
Super performances from both Mabel Hoskins as Holly and Lucy Farrow as ‘bad girl’ Linda. Each has great vocal and dancing ability. Alex Elbro brought out every ounce of humour to her role as “Grandma’ Rosie showing some good moves and vocal ability in Move That Thang. Great support too came from Amelia Bass as Julia’s mother Angie.
The Wedding Singer would be nothing without the Ensemble, and strength in depth came to the fore here. I’m not going to mention all by name but suffice to say that they all provided great support in all aspects of dance energy/delivery, vocal drive and acting cameos.
Shows like this don’t happen by accident and Emily Starr should feel very proud of what she and her talented production and on stage team achieved. They should all be congratulated for providing a night of high energy dance, powerful vocal performance and both broad and subtle humour. Congratulations Pied Pipers and here’s to Made in Dagenham in 2024.