Neon Colours and Shoulder Pads are Out in Force for The Wedding Singer
Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide, Saturday April 10
Reviewed by Amy Donohue
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The Wedding Singer – The Musical Comedy definitely lived up to its highly-praised reputation. This contemporary stage musical was adapted from the movie of the same name, and took the audience back to the 1980s with neon lights, back-combed and high-hair and prominent shoulder pads. And let’s not forget the incredible eighties music!
The opening sequence of ‘It’s Your Wedding Day’ consisted of the company bursting onto stage in an enthusiastic fashion, where they whipped out dance moves reminiscent of iconic 80s pop culture. This paired with a seamless transition into the next scene, setting the tone for the level of professionalism that was seen throughout the performance.
Christian Charisiou who played Robbie Hart seemed somewhat nervous at the beginning of the show, however, his characterisation solidified when he was dumped by his ghastly, Tina-Turner-wannabe fiancé Linda, played brilliantly by Kirby Burgess. Charisiou’s hysterical crying as he dragged himself off stage, had the audience hysterically laughing. His rendition of ‘Somebody Kill Me’ had great comedic timing and had everyone roaring with laugher, yet it made the audience feel a pang of guilt for finding his demise so amusing.
In the dreamlike sequence in ‘Someday’, which was performed beautifully by the lead Teagan Wouters ,playing the lovely Julia, and the rest of the show’s company; the ensemble performed various ballet motifs and graceful lifts, which showcased their diversity as dancers.
The choreography created by Michael Ralph was very powerful and well considered and constructed for the theme of the show. By making references to the iconic dance moves of the decade throughout, the audience was magically transported back to that era – whether they had lived it or not! This was evident in the song ‘Casualty of Love’, where the ensemble performed movements from the world-renowned ‘Thriller’ music video by the late Michael Jackson. The sampled zombie-like movements strengthened the message of the characters feeling like misfits and was highly engaging.
‘Saturday Night in the City’ performed by Nadia Komazec, as her character Holly, was a showstopper and showcased her powerful voice as well as the fierceness of her character. This energetic number consisted of the company executing hitch kicks, fan kicks, sharp arms and flashy floorwork, which left the audience in awe. The highlight of this number was the signature ‘Flashdance’ move, which made for an exciting conclusion to the first act.
‘All About the Green’, which was set on New York’s Wall Street, had the dancers dressed in suits whilst executing aggressive movements, which accentuated the ruthless, workaholic stereotype of such financially-focussed, stereotypical Wall Street workers. Throughout this section cannon and various floor patterns were used to assist in depicting the chaotic workplace. Money was also used as a prop during this sequence, which was extremely fitting for scene. During the reprise of the same song, the performers showed off their flair in bartending skills, a la Cocktail the movie, which were highly impressive and amusing.
During ‘Right Infront of Your Eyes’, Nadia Komazec, as Holly, danced with upper class bachelors in frog tuxes, which was reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe in Gentleman Prefer Blondes. However, out of all of the gentlemen on offer Holly (Nadia Komazec) chose her on-and-off again beau Sammy, played by Haydan Hawkins, which was both comedic and charming.
A poignant moment in the show was when Robbie (Christian Charisiou) and Julia (Teagan Wouters) expressed their feelings through song in ‘If I Told You’. The set design by Nathan Weyers enhanced this moment by having Julia situated on a staircase centre stage, whilst Robbie looked up to her window. This was therefore reminiscent of Shakespeare’s tragic love story of Romeo & Juliet, which invited many audience tears.
The Las Vegas section was a highlight of the show and highlighted every individual’s talents on stage. The costumes created by Kim Bishop were vibrant, extravagant and well suited to each character. The only negative was that it would have been nice if the programme reflected the roles the company played in the Las Vegas section. This way the audience would be able to see who played their favourite 80s pop icons.
With clever and classic 1980s references throughout, The Wedding Singer was entertaining, comedic and well assembled. The choreography was well thought out and executed perfectly by the ensemble. Collectively, the costumes, lighting and staging assisted in making the production enticing and engaging for the audience, who delivered a standing ovation. A must see!