Based on the 1998 comedy of the same name, The Wedding Singer is set in 1980s New Jersey and whilst the film has an impressive list of 80s classic tunes this musical brings an original score allowing for a musical adaptation of a film rather than being labelled another jukebox musical.
Robbie Hart is a wedding singer with his band Simply Wed, who is left depressed when his fiancée Linda dumps him at the altar. Befriended by waitress Julia – who is hoping her ever absent boyfriend Glen will finally pop the question – the inevitable happens as Robbie and Julia secretly realise they are falling for each other. Of course they don’t admit their feelings until it’s almost too late and it’s up to Robbie to win Julia’s heart with a song as he crashes Julia and Glens Vegas wedding (with a little help from Billy Idol and Wonder Woman.)
West End star Jon Robyns made the role of Robbie Hart his own and did the right thing not to attempt to emulate Adam Sandler (Robbie in the original movie.) Jon was funny (especially at being drunk,) charismatic and a hopeless romantic with a faultless voice. Stand out songs included “Somebody Kill Me” and “Casualty of Love” which included a snippet of the classic Thriller dance from the cast.
Surprise of the night was the talent that shone from Cassie Compton as waitress Julia Sullivan. A credible American accent and a beautiful singing voice which fit perfectly with “Someday” and “If I Told You.” Cassie was also a natural at the comedy too with the fun “Come Out of the Dumpster.”
Whilst Act 1 was a bit of a slow burner, act 2 more than made up for it kicking off with “All About The Green” – which surprisingly was Ray Quinn’s only musical number. I was impressed with Ray’s acting skills as Wall Street banker Glen Gulia, Julia’s cheating sleaze ball fiancé which showcased him as a good all-rounder.
Tara Verloop was a worthy stand in Holly. She suited the pink hair, shared great chemistry with her on-screen love interest Sammy from the band (Ashley Emerson) and held her own in her musical numbers – although I could also definitely picture her as Linda (Tara’s original role.)
Mark Pearce played an array of comical characters all entertaining. The most notable was as the drunken bum during the bar scene which included musical number “Single” – laugh out loud funny and one of the best scenes of the show.
Robbie’s grandma Rosie was played by Ruth Madoc (Hi-De-Hi) who didn’t look anywhere near her 70+ years with a lively performance including her hip hop “Move That Thang” with band member George (Samuel Holmes.) Samuel had a cheeky yet mesmerising face and a glint in his eye that gave him great stage presence.
Some great comedy moments and a fantastic performance by Jon Robyns make this an enjoyable evening although you may be slightly disappointed if you were hoping for a night of 80s tunes you could sing along to.
The Wedding Singer, Theatre Royal Nottingham until 13th May