Reviewed by Katie Allen
We walked into the theatre and it was like going back in time to 1985. The clever stage design included a billboard which was showing classic 80s movie trailers such as Goonies, Rambo and my favourite, Weird Science. As the lights went down Back to the Future was playing and the DeLorean smashed through the screen to transport us back to New Jersey in 1985.
We meet Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) and his band playing at a wedding ably assisted by waitresses Julia (Cassie Compton) and Holly (local lady Stephanie Clift). You can clearly see that Robbie loves weddings and romance and is excited about his impending nuptials the next day. Unfortunately, things don’t go well for him and he’s jilted at the alter by Loathsome Linda (Tara Verloop). Meanwhile Julia is dreaming that her odious boyfriend, Glen, will propose and dreams of her wedding. After meeting him (the wonderfully vile Ray Quinn) we all hope that doesn’t happen but that wouldn’t make much of a show would it!?
The show moves along at a pace and we see Julia and Robbie’s friendship blossom as they work at more weddings (and a bar mitzvah). The impending romance and love triangle/square is accompanied by an original (not cover versions) 80s style soundtrack with Jon Robyns not only providing a strong, powerful singing voice but also playing the guitar live for some of the tracks. If I had to choose one standout track it would be Single in the second Act. This is sung by the “boys” at a local bar lead by Sammy, Robbie’s bass player. I loved the foot and “legography”.
The whole cast knocked it out of the park with their performances. Stephanie Clift sparkled and fizzed and Ashley Emerson’s performance of Sammy brought a lovable quality to the role. Cassie Compton and Ray Quinn had incredible voices and completely inhabited their characters. I was rooting for Julia from start and wished bad things would happen to Glen.
The ensemble skilfully supported the main cast and I loved Ruth Madoc’s Grandma Rosie – especially the rap and acrobatics with Samuel Holmes (George).
Look out for the surprise appearances of 80s legends.
I would say the 14+ advisory is spot on with some bad language and suggestive content.
We had a fantastic evening out at a great, modern theatre. Before the show we had a coffee in the theatre’s cafe which we noted had a good value menu too. You can also eat at the main restaurant upstairs as well as several local bars and cafes. There is plenty of parking nearby both on street and car parks.
Tickets costfrom £18 to £43.50 (booking fees may apply).
The Weddig Singer is at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth from 8-12 August 2017, for more information or to book tickets visit www.theatreroyal.com or call the box office on 01752 267222.
Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, PL1 2TR | 01752 267222