Review by Barry Hill
“Marriage is like a hot bath; once you get used to it it’s not so hot anymore.” This is the message of the Adelaide Repertory Theatre’s latest offering Perfect Wedding.
How could things get worse? A bridegroom wakes up on his wedding morning in his own hotel bridal suite and finds a strange girl next to him who he can’t remember even having been introduced to. To make matters worse, the bride arrives and the girl is trapped in the bathroom. The only way out of this problem is to persuade the best man to pretend that the hidden girl is his girlfriend. There’s only one problem, the best man’s real girlfriend has to be kept ignorant of the fact. By the time the bride’s mother and the chambermaid become involved, the chaos reaches epic proportions!
This is a fast-paced farce and under the capable direction of Sue Wylie the action never slows and every laugh line is nailed. Set in a stylish split bedroom/lounge the play rockets along to its inevitable conclusion.
Unlike many farces that take a while to warm up, the laughs begin from the first minute. It is clear that the actors have worked on the pace, which is essential to any farce otherwise the audience quickly pick the holes in the plot.
Perfect Wedding is well cast. Heath Trebilcock, as Bill the hapless husband-to-be, has all the innocence and confusion down pat. He stumbles from one problem to another while always endearing himself to the audience.
Leighton Vogt plays Bill’s Best Man Tom, who has the unenviable job of trying to patch up his best friend Bill’s predicaments while trying to avoid his own. His facial expressions are priceless. Not putting his hands on his hips so often would improve his portrayal even more.
Charlotte Batty as Rachel, the bride has the difficult task of being the straight man (or woman) of the play. She sets up the situations and gags and keeps the story moving. She does not miss a beat and we feel Rachel’s dilemma.
Zanny Edhouse as Julie the chambermaid shines with her regional accent, dry humour and ability to dominate her every scene. When I attended, Julie was clearly the audience favourite as well as the voice of wisdom in a completely ridiculous plot.
Megan Dansie (well known for her direction of Shakespeare) embodies every doting mother of the bride. Her character has the ability to be oblivious to what is going on around her while still being part of the convolutions of the plot. Her rendition of “I’m Getting Married in the Morning” would make Alfred Doolittle proud!
Mention should also be made of the technical side. As referenced earlier, the set is well designed and dressed with great attention to detail. I particularly enjoyed the theme music, which set the tone right from the start. Costumes were appropriate to today and I was impressed with the detail paid to the groom and best man’s formal attire, thanks to Oliver Lee and Ian Rigney. The lighting is even with no tell-tale shadows that often spoil a well-executed set.
All in all, the ‘Rep’ have every right to be proud of Perfect Wedding. Farce is one of the most difficult theatre styles and they have done a magnificent job. I loved the Chicken Dance!