The Wedding Singer
Bristol Hippodrome 2017
Our Verdict: A surprisingly great show
Our Rating: 8/10
The Wedding Singer, has been on my Films-To-See list since it first came out in 1998. Yet, for some reason I still haven’t got around to perusing it. So, I’m watching this stage musical version of the film with completely fresh eyes unsullied by preconceptions based upon the original.
Having seen some appalling movie to musical adaptations in recent years and not seeing very much in the marketing to recommend this show particularly highly, I didn’t hold out much hope for it to be any good.
But what a mistake that was because this is a genuinely good musical and the touring production at the Hippodrome quality entertainment.
Yes, it is tried and tested formulaic musical theatre we are all used to and, yes, it tells the age old story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl etc etc.
But this energetic show with its superb themed lighting, a cinematic feel and 80s choreography infused this infectious story with the right balance of nostalgia and drama.
It’s not often a musical can generate more than a strong smile or weak snort of mirth out of the miserable, so watch out for some unexpected laugh out loud moments.
The top tunes come thick and fast, with the humorous and gripping Casualty of Love, the inspired Come out of the Dumpster, Single is exceptionally funny and Saturday Night in the City is a cracking end of Act One number.
And what a fantastic cast goes with this feel-good show. Jon Robyns as Robbie Hart conjured up a mix of Jason Manford’s blundering innocence with the best of Michael McIntyre’s physical performance.
Looking remarkably like a Jenna Coleman Impersonator – Cassie Compton as Julia Sullivan was a refreshing leading lady. Practical and warm and managing introspection in If I Told You rather than the whiny whinge of lost love.
It’s very refreshing to see a love story mainly from a male perspective interspersed between very strong female leads. Of course it’s never going to pass the Bechdel test, but even though the show revolves around weddings, Roxanne Pallett as Holly and Tara Verloop both command the stage with their jaw dropping powerful vocals and belting moves.
Samuel Holmes is back in Bristol, having played a delightful Dandini in Cinderella 2016/17. This time he’s George the New Romantic keyboardist in Simply Wed. Both him and Hi-deHi!’s Ruth Madoc had the audience in stitches with their rendition of Move That Thang.
The Wedding Singer is only in town until Saturday 18 March 2017. Don’t make the mistake of dismissing this show and mentally filing it under dirge without seeing it.
This is a genuinely great show with a good blend of nostalgia, drama, acting and music. Exactly what you want a feel-good musical to give.