Reviewed by Catherine Joyce
Last night we went to the opening night of The Wedding Singer at the Manchester Opera House. Based on the 1998 film of the same name the musical is about Robbie Hart, a wedding singer, whose heart is broken after being jilted at the altar by fiancé Linda. He befriends waitress Julia who asks him to sing at her upcoming wedding. As Robbie spends more time with Julia, he begins to fall in love and must somehow win her heart.
Set in 1985 the show uses just about every 80’s cliché from huge mobile phones, jump suits complete with shoulder pads and Glen as the shiny suited, womanising Wall Street trader. Particularly effective in setting the scene was the use of 80’s film trailers before the show started which got the audience in the mood for the nostalgia ahead.
The original film is full of chart hits from the 80’s but the musical version has original songs brilliantly written by Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin. Whilst these were great and fitted the story perfectly, it did mean that the show lacked that “sing along” dimension that audiences love. I really enjoyed the song “Single” in the second act, not only were the lyrics funny but the visual comedy of the men all standing at the bar was hilarious.
X Factor star Cassie Compton played waitress Julia Sullivan with Jon Robyns playing the title role of Robbie, the wedding singer. Cassie’s beautiful voice filled the theatre giving, for me, the performance of the night. Tara Verloop’s performance as Julia’s best friend Holly came a close second. We also enjoyed Ray Quinn’s portrayal of Glen Gulia, a stereotypical 80’s yuppie bringing a slightly darker edge to the story. The rest of the large cast were also very talented with Hi- Di-Hi star Ruth Madoc especially well received by the audience.
A musical about a wedding singer was bound to include lots of wedding parties and this gave director and choreographer Nick Winston the chance to make the most of the talented cast. We really enjoyed the high energy, sometimes raunchy, dance numbers, the whole cast were fantastic and seemed to be really enjoying themselves on stage.
We drove to the Opera House, which is easy to find on the western edge of Manchester city centre. Like many others we parked at the nearby modern Spinningfields multi-story carpark which costs £7.50 if you arrive after 6pm.
Full of dance, music and comedy it is a brilliant night out and is showing at Manchester until the 20th May with the national tour until October.
Tickets cost from £16.50 to £48.50 (plus £4 transaction fee).
The Wedding Singer is at the Opera House in Manchester from 15-20 May 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/operahouse or call the box office on 0844 871 3018.
Opera House, 3 Quay Street, Manchester, M3 3HP | 0844 871 3018