Published on May 2nd, 2021 | by Andrew Bistak
The Wedding Singer the Musical Comedy Review (Melbourne Australia 2021 – Athenaeum Theatre) #weddingsingerau
Summary: The Wedding Singer the Musical Comedy is pure 80's glam and comedy that is a must see performance at Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne!
What better way to treat the pandemic blues then with a nostalgic and gaudy trip down memory lane to the 1980’s with the musical rendition of the blockbuster film, The Wedding Singer (1998) which starred the comedic Adam Sandler and equally delightful Drew Barrymoore. For the uninitiated and like the film, this “romcom” revolves around the romantic Robbie Hart (Christian Charisiou), a wedding singer who becomes jaded when his fiancé Linda (Kirby Burgess) literally leaves him at the altar. As a result, Robbie disdains weddings and even his music starts to suffer as his band mates Sammy (Hayden Hawkins) and George (Ed Deganos), two lovable rogues desperately try to get him back into singing. Cue in Julia Sullivan (Teagan Wouters), a humble waitress who knows Robbie from his wedding gigs and although they become friends, they are actually soul mates but someone stands in their way, a Wall Street trader named Glen Guglia (Stephen Mahy), a money hungry cheater that as our wedding singer describes him is a real “jerk-off”. Like the film, this musical comedy is filled with great music and humour, with plenty of laugh-out moments thanks to the entire cast.
While The Wedding Singer The Musical Comedy pays homage to the original movie, the creators successfully bring the magic to the stage and supporting this performance are the two leads Christian Charisiou and Teagan Wouters who give it their best and as a result, it really draws you into this musical comedy. While they both have parallels to Sandler and Barrymore, particularly Charisiou, they still bring their own uniqueness to the roles, including great on-stage chemistry and of course 80’s hair. Needless to say, The Wedding Singer The Musical Comedy has been perfectly cast and the vocals are definitely a highlight of this performance with standout songs that include Casualty of Love and Grow Old With You. Further, all the songs have this great 80’s vibe to them, with a mixture of memorable ballads to rock.
The choreography is fast paced, enjoyable and matches the story and songs courtesy of choreographer Michael Ralph (The Boy From Oz). Casualty of Love has this Michael Jackson Thriller feel to it and as Michael Ralph is behind it, there are some routines that are as great as those from The Boy From Oz. Speaking of Michael Jackson, there are some wonderful 80’s cameos in this product that had the entire audience in hysterics. As mentioned, the main case and ensemble are fantastic which makes it hard to choose a favourite. Whether it’s the over the top acting between Christian Charisiou and Teagan Wouters, the arrogance of Stephen Mahy as this stuck up Wall Street Trader or Julia’s best friend Holly who is played perfectly by Nadia Komazec as she is the polar opposite, it’s great casting… oh, her water number is a classic! Ed Deganos as George and Hayden Hawkins as Sammy from the band Simply Wed further advance the comedy of this production and finally, you have the super delightful Susan-Ann Walker as Robbie’s grandmother Rosie (a must see performance) to the Kirby Burgess who plays the sultry Linda who all put their heart and soul into The Wedding Singer the Musical Comedy with its faultless acting and wondering singing.
Set design is fantastic as they manage to create all sorts of different scenes from Robbie’s basement to Wall Street plus a weddings and a very laughable Bar Mitzvah scene. The 80’s wardrobe is another standout of this performance from its colours, baggy pants/jackets, shoulder pads and more ruffles then on a pirate ship. So while the fashion of this period is best forgotten, it truly comes to life in The Wedding Singer the Musical Comedy, especially with all the puffiness and colourful glitz to match. Lastly the lighting really helps with the illusion of this delightful story of Robbie and Julia that will keep you engaged from start to finish. A special kudos should be made to director Alister Smith (Bring It On The Musical) whose skills helps give this production its own life and more importantly, add a unique spin to an already classic film.
If you need a night of escapism, then The Wedding Singer the Musical Comedy is the perfect panacea that for a few hours allows you to become part of a wonderful live production with great performances, clever choreography and songs that pay homage to the kitsch craziness of the 80’s. If you lived through the 80’s or watched the film, the references will sure bring a smile to your face that makes it a night to remember.
Gallery by Nicole Cleary