Review by Valerie Lillington
It’s Bill and Rachel’s wedding day. The stag party was the night before and Bill wakes up with a horrible headache and a naked woman asleep next to him who he doesn’t know. Oops!
The sense of it not being a good start to the day increases rapidly when he realises that the bedroom he’s in is the bridal suite in the hotel that he and Rachel will share after the wedding. Worse still, he remembers through the dim recesses of his addled brain that because her parents’ house is full of rellies, she has booked the room all day to prepare in peace for her walk down the aisle and she’ll be there soon. Oops again!
A swift, funny and revealing conversation with the attractive, good natured, young woman establishes that her name is Judy and, when she gets the message that there’s an emergency afoot, she obliges by going into the bathroom to dress – fast. Bill’s instruction to her is that if discovered, she is to pretend to be the chamber maid. Enter good mate, best man and man-about-town, Tom, to chivvy the groom and ensure he’s up and about for his big moment. Enter Rachel, the bride, the real chamber maid Julie and Rachel’s mother, Daphne. Many, many oops!
Such is the way with comedy and its secret to success is pace. Director Sue Wylie and the cast understand that and have achieved a cracking rate for this comedy which morphs into farce, the whole appreciated and rewarded by the audience with laughter and applause throughout. The well designed programme says of the playwright that “At any one moment there are likely to be at least twenty productions of Robin Hawdon titles running in various countries and in diverse languages”. So here we have Perfect Wedding a well written play, a good director and a cast who obviously know their stuff and enjoy their roles.
No meter was required to measure that the real chamber maid, Julie, Zanny Edhouse was the audience favourite. Her timing with her comic lines and bafflement as to what is going on is very good although she needs to beware that she lets her voice be shrill at times and does not maintain the accent she started with. Bill, Heath Trebilcock, is a bit of an ass, a likeable one, but an ass nevertheless and Heath portrays the bumbling chap well and looks just right. So does his mate, Tom(Leighton Vogt) with his neat moustache and more sophisticated manner, who sweeps in self assured and finishes up a blubbering, petulant child swearing that “when I find him I’m going to give him the biggest vasectomy ….” He’s overdone at times as is Rachel’s mother, Daphne (Megan Dansie) all the time. Rouged up with hair that matches her daft purple hat, she’s a mixture of Edna Everage, Florence Foster Jenkins and so many other overbearing but well-meaning mothers portrayed on stage. It’s hard to believe that Rachel (Charlotte Batty) is her daughter so well turned out and ‘normal’ is she in this bevy of oddities and she handles the role well. Ellen Ferguson does too with a pleasant seemingly effortless portrayal of laid-back Judy caught in a romantic tangle from which there seems no escape.
Stage managed and with sound designed by Brendan Taggart, the play is set in a convincing luxurious hotel bridal suite designed by Suzannah Kirton, lit by Richard Parkhill and well dressed by Oliver Lee and Ian Rigney and, of course, their competent crews. The Adelaide Repertory Theatre can be relied on to present good theatre and Perfect Wedding at the Arts Theatre until the 30th June is another feather in their cap.