Theatre Review: The Wedding Singer

As a real nice feel-good rom-com, this production catches the bouquet

Presented by: Northern Light Theatre Company 

Reviewed: 12 April, 2024

I dare you to count all the visual, verbal and aural 1980s references in the stage musical The Wedding Singer. I will give you a clue: it’s roughly about one reference every second and there are a lot of seconds and gags in the show. It is, of course, based on the 1998 film of the same name starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Northern Lights current production includes every laugh and is a hoot.

The set design for this particular production by Director Matt Smith and Northern Light stalwart John Sheehan is basically one big iconic item that was the Eighties; Professor Rubik’s Cube. Seats are boxes made to look like the Cube, whilst the majority of the set are two huge Japanese style screens that glide back and forth seamlessly displaying various Cube patterns.

In his direction Smith has made a couple of small rookie errors, but overall gives us a delightful production that zings along fairly well. The sound balance as designed by Musical Director Matthew Rumley and Allpro Audio (Tim Freedman and Marty Gilbert) is spot on! We reviewers always tend to complain about sound, especially with community theatre companies – absolutely NOT this time.

Rumley conducts an ace, electric band (a few whom this reviewer has worked with) including the male lead, Sam Mannix (more of this young man later), who plays his own guitar throughout the show. Rumley also makes sure that vocals from all performers are crystal clear. One of the highlights of this production for this reviewer is the fantastic choreography, well carried out by all the cast, of Lucy Newman and her Assistant to the Choreographer, Celeste Barone. These two ladies must have studied every 80s music clip ever made, plus watched a few Bar Mitzvah clips. Each number has the appropriate moves for the style it is written in – don’t blink or you will miss the small salute to Michael Jackson’s Thriller (and yes, his famous dance step of all time is performed as well). 

The two leads, Sam Mannix as Robbie Hart and Catherine Breugelmans as Julia Sullivan are absolutely wonderful and drive this production along superbly. What Mannix can do with his vocals is simply stunning and he is totally believable without ever having to resort to over exaggeration (which unfortunately some of the smaller parts do). Breugelmans also has mastered capturing her character perfectly and has a beautiful voice. The two of them are magic to watch and pair so well. Their Act Two duet If I Told You is a knockout.

They are more than ably supported by Tegan Gully-Crispe as Holly (is there nothing this girl can’t do!?!?) and Kristian Latella (Sammy) and Ryan Ricci (George). Latella and Ricci help Mannix make up the Wedding Band Simply Wed and all work together extremely well. Doug Phillips, in what could so easily be an overplayed part, does a nicely understated line in sleaze as Julia’s current boyfriend, Glen. Talking of sleaze, Robyn Brookes only makes two appearances as the slutty, skanky Linda but makes us all sit up and take notice with her two show-stopping numbers, A Note From Linda and Let Me Come Home. Whilst Clare Hastings tends to overact as Robbie’s Grandma, Rosie, she does do justice vocally to her numbers, A Note From Grandma and Move That Thang.

As a real nice feel-good rom-com, this production catches the bouquet. So, make sure you say “I Do” and wedding march right down to the Shedley Theatre for Northern Lights The Wedding Singer.

Reviewed by Brian Godfrey

Photo credit: supplied

Venue:  Shedley Theatre
Season:  Until 27 April 2024
Tickets: From $24.00

Disclaimer: Doug Phillips is part of the Glam Adelaide Arts review team.

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