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Anybody after a cool wedding band?
I may sound a little biased but I feel totally blessed to be raised in the '80s, where fashion was bold and big hair and shoulder pads were cool. Let's not forget the timeless hits we still hear on the radio today. Before the world became obsessed with technology, I was fascinated with the "ghetto blaster." Pre Spotify and iTunes, my favourite playlist was recorded on cassette and I visited a record store to buy tapes, CDs and records. It was the only way I could listen to music back then!
In fact, many musicals were inspired by music from the 80s - namely Rock of Ages, Xanadu, Fame, School of Rock and Mamma Mia. Need I say more, the '80s rocked!
A movie I never tire watching is The Wedding Singer, a romantic comedy starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. I've seen it over 50 times - in fact, one of my favourite lines in the movie is "take off my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up." The 1998 movie grossed over $123M and has been adapted into a stage musical, which recently premiered in Adelaide and set to tour Australia.
You couldn't pick a more perfect musical to welcome everybody back to the theatre, and a bonus, at the recently renovated Her Majesty's Theatre Adelaide. Counting down the days until the opening night was like the 80s hit song 'The Final Countdown'. I couldn't wait to see one of my favourite movies come to life on stage, let alone be back in a theatre!
Characters Robbie and Julia. Photo: Nicole Clearly
The Wedding Singer Musical tells the story of failed rockstar turned wedding singer Robbie Hart, heartbroken after his fiancé Linda left him at the altar. Whilst weddings are supposed to be a celebration of love, miserable Robbie tears down the mood of a wedding he's singing at, with songs about his lost love and sorrow. That is until waitress Julia intervenes while he's down in the dumps and makes her way into his shattered heart.
But in some twisted fate, Julia is to be married to Glen Guglia, a cheating, cocaine-snorting Wall Street mogul. The audience is taken on a journey to see how Robbie navigates through this twist of fate and fights to win Julia's love.
The high energy cast opened the show with "It's Your Wedding Day" - and what a number to open with! Musically dynamic, coupled with incredible choreography and lyrics pertaining to 80s references, it was clear from that moment on that I'd be lapping up the show from start to finish.
Award-winning choregrapher Michael Ralph's dance routines are powerful, tight, and very well synchronised while keeping with the era. Inspiration was drawn from iconic 80s dance moves we've grown to love and remember from artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson. To top it off, remember the memorable water scene from Flashdance? Well, that even gets a cameo!
Director Alister Smith could not have assembled a more perfect cast. Christian Charisiou (Robbie) and Teagan Wouters (Julia) had an electric onstage chemistry. From the moment they met, I couldn't wait to see them back together on stage. Both played the characters with conviction and Christian Charisiou channelled Robbie Hart to perfection.
Kirby Burgess, as Linda, was a crowd favourite! With her grungy 80s look, kick-ass vocals and stellar dance moves, the crowd was "ooh-ing and ahh-ing" in between laughing hysterically at her antics. Choreography for Linda was on pointe and the character perfectly cast.
Nadia Komazec (Holly) also a crowd favourite with her dynamic vocals and dancing ability, ended act 1 with the audience on a high ready to take in act 2. Her costumes - va va voom!
Special mention to Haydan Hawkins (Sammy), Ed Deganos (George) and Susan-Ann Walker (Rosie), all vocally brilliant, with excellent comedic timing and delivering some hilarious one-liners that the audience couldn't get enough of - and wait until you hear Rosie rap. It's a hit!
Costumes by Kim Bishop are stunning, set design by Nathan Weyers clever and effective with seamless transitions, and lighting design by Declan O'Neill featuring neons was beyond brilliant.
I could not fault this production in any way whatsoever. It's been exceptionally well cast and wish I could mention the entire cast as everyone gave 150%. It captivated me and is definitely up there as one of the most entertaining musicals I've seen in a long time. I found myself at times laughing so hard, all my feel-good endorphins were working overtime! The final few scenes had the entire theatre erupting with laughter, as characters were introduced into the mix and addressed as 'fake Cher', 'fake Dolly' and 'fake Cyndi Lauper' - such a highlight!
The musical soundtrack is currently on top of my Spotify and iTunes playlist. With favourites like A Note From Linda, Saturday Night In The City, All About The Green (reminded me of La Vie Bohème from RENT) hearing the band playing them live under the direction of Music Director Daniel Puckey, were tighter than spandex was in the 80s.
It's been a difficult year with COVID-19 and I can't recommend a better way to swap the isolation slippers for some 80s shoes to groove the night away. It's full of energy, laughter, with some brilliant musical numbers all the way through. The show received a standing ovation and I want to go and see it again before the season ends!
On a final note, I can definitely predict some Helpmann Award nominations from this production. Producers David Venn Enterprises have a winner on their hands!