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The Wedding Singer

reviewed at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend on 15 August

Yet another stage version of a musical film is on tour this summer. This time it’s The Wedding Singer, set in the 1980s (how long ago that now seems!) and decorated with hit numbers of the period.

The story centres on Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) who really wants to compose his own songs for his band – friends Sammy (Ashley Emerson) and George (Samuel Holmes) – but who scrapes a living by singing at weddings.

Robbie is engaged to Linda (Tara Verloop), but she jilts him (literally) at the altar and his only consolation comes from grandmother Rosie (Ruth Madoc) and waitress Julia (Cassie Compton), herself on the verge of becoming engaged to businessman Glen (Ray Quinn).

You can guess how it all pans out.

Under musical director Sean Green the numbers go with a swing, even if none of them are particularly memorable, and the choreography of director Nick Winston is excellent and very well performed. Designers Francis O’Connor (set and costumes), Ben Cracknell (lighting) and Jack Henry James (video projections) use the stage imaginatively.

Both Compton and Verloop have strong voices and personalities to match while Robyns makes as much as he can of the title character; Robbie’s a nice guy but one wonders if he’ll ever make the big time, even with Julia (and grandma)’s help. Madoc as usual steals all the scenes she’s in.

Three and a half-star rating.

The Wedding Singer runs at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend until 19 August with an early evening performance on 18 August and matinées on 16 an 19 August.

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Filed under Music Music theatre & Opera, Reviews 2017