Perfect Wedding By Robin Hawdon Performed by Paul Brown, Colin Doyle, Joanna Douglas, Amber Montrose, Monica Nowak, Perrie Olthuis, Ari Weinberg. Directed by Michael Lamport Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia July 3 – 21, 2007
Live! On Stage Review by Mary Alderson
Perfect Wedding, currently on stage at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia is the perfect British farce – there are doors being slammed, lies being told and characters posing as other people. Thanks to fast-paced timing by Director Michael Lamport, this is the best farce on Petrolia’s stage since Confessions of a Dirty Blonde, when Lamport played the Robin Williams-like bellhop. Lamport’s experience in comedy has served him well in his direction of this hilarious farce. On his wedding day, Bill, the groom-to-be, wakes up in the bridal suite to find a woman he doesn’t know naked in bed beside him. With his bride on the way, wanting to use the hotel room to dress in her wedding gown, Bill hides the stranger in the bathroom, hoping she’ll pose at the best man’s girlfriend, or maybe the chambermaid. These ideas might have worked, except that she really is the best man’s girlfriend, and the real chambermaid shows up. The problems are obvious – add to this, Tom, the best man who becomes increasingly high-strung, Rachel, the bride, on the verge of becoming bridezilla, and Daphne, the bride’s mother, who completes to the comedy. In this production, the best man really is the best man. Ari Weinberg plays Tom brilliantly, with hilarious facial expressions, an endearing British accent, and a gentle humour giving way to near-insanity. This is Weinberg’s debut on the VPP stage, and with an obvious penchant for comedy, he’ll no doubt be seen more in the future. Another newcomer, Monica Nowak is excellent as Julie the chambermaid. Like Weinberg, her over-the-top facial expressions, along with the vocal changes, make the audience roar with laughter. Colin Doyle is good as the frustrated groom trying to remember what happened after his bachelor party, and Perrie Olthuis as the bride handles the role well – just snippy enough to be believable as a stressed-out bride, but pleasant enough to warrant sympathy. Joanna Douglas as Judy, the naked female in the bed, is very good as the other woman, also showing comedic talent with her facial expressions. . Amber Montrose plays the role of Daphne, the bride’s mother. While she boasts quite a list of credits in the program, she hasn’t been seen on local stages before. I will say that it seems to be strange casting, but Artistic Director Robert More assures me that Montrose is right for the role. You’ll have to the see the show and decide for yourself if Montrose is really right. The program lists Paul Brown as an understudy, and unfortunately, he apparently didn’t grace the stage on opening night. Brown is a master of the farce, and was hilarious in previous VPP productions Confessions of a Dirty Blonde and Too Many Cooks, as well as many British farces at Huron Country Playhouse. If you enjoy farces, you’ll like this one. Go see it, and maybe you’ll be fortunate enough to catch Paul Brown on stage.
Perfect Wedding continues with eight shows a week at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until July 21. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or (519) 882-1221 for tickets.
Mary Alderson offers her view of area theatre in this column on a regular basis. As well as being a fan of live theatre, she is a former journalist who is currently the Community Economic Development Officer with the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation.