REVIEW: The Wedding Singer
Eden Court, Inverness
* * * * *
by Margaret Chrystall
SO what’s best about THE WEDDING SINGER musical at Eden Court till Saturday – it’s a five-star perfect marriage of retro fun and star talent, for starters.
High-spots must include Barbara Rafferty’s performance joining the cast for the tour’s Scottish dates as hero Robbie’s rather crude gran Rosie, topped by her rap and apparently rather adventurous gymnastic dance routine including flic flacs across the stage near the end of the show.
But this is a show packed with high-spots.
X Factor finalist and Dancing On Ice winner Ray Quinn plays roving-eyed Wall Street fiance Glen Guglia to heroine Julie (Cassie Compton). His voice and precision moves in Act Two number All About The Green is just one of the reasons it’s probably the best number of the night. And throughout the show he seems to relish his role as the unfaithful money-mad Glen.
Fellow X Factor finalist Lucie Jones comes into her own as Julia’s friend Holly when she sings about love you can’t see for looking in Right In Front Of Your Eyes.
And the whole cast has a ball with Casualty of Love when dumped Robbie presents his warped take on love, trashing an unsuspecting wedding party.
From the start the scene-setting trailers from 80s movies such as Cocoon, The Goonies, Back to the Future and Rambo before the show begins means we know we’re back in July 1985.
Robbie the wedding singer sings us straight into the story of a music hopeful whose music career has been sidelined by his wedding band Simply Wed.
The lyrics of It’s Your Wedding Day go: "I wrote a song six years ago/ While playing in a wedding band/ The word got out and suddenly/ The band and I are in demand/ And now couples all over Jersey/ Hire me to insure their wedded bliss."
The wedding party is a perfect pastiche of every wedding – including the drunken best man with issues, the mother-in-laws with their over-the-top hats.
"Love is what I do!" says Robbie.
But Robbie’s world is shattered when his own fiancee Linda (Tara Verloop) claims he’s changed and goes in search of a real rocker after sending a Dear John letter on their wedding day signed Linda – "the ‘i’ is dotted with a broken heart".
Of course the audience knows that the fact Robbie found it hard to write a non-jokey love song for Linda even with the advice "just think how she makes you feel" – and that there’s already chemistry with waitress Julia - means a better love is just round the corner.
The script is packed with little in-jokes from 2017 looking back – "I’m going to party like it’s ... 1986!" sings Lucie Jones’ in big Act One finisher Saturday Night.
And if we didn’t know Glen was a loser before, we do after his secretary just back from Seattle tells him about a coffee store Starbucks that’s thinking of going national and Glen dismisses it – "No’one’s going to pay $3 for a coffee!!"
Jon Robyns brings all the energy needed as Robbie and is matched by the performance of Cassie Compton as Julia – though sometimes her impeccable New Jersey accent comes across as a little over-enunciated.
Supporting players Samuel Holmes as the Boy George-esque Simply Wed keysman George and Ashley Emerson as bassist Sammy add to the fun.
And Tara Verloop as Linda gives a super-smouldering porntastic dance number late in the show.
In the Vegas scene the cast appear to relish creating Tina Turner, Billy Idol and Cyndi Lauper impersonations too.
The Wedding Singer is a guaranteed great night out – Eden Court’s first night crowd thought so, they gave it a standing ovation!
The Wedding Singer continues at Eden Court till Saturday.