Reviewed at: Curve Leicester
The Wedding Singer is finally back, and it’s delighting audiences in its first week at Curve Theatre here in Leicester.
I first saw the show years back when it was touring starring Jonathan Wilkes as Robbie and Natalie Casey as Julia, now in this new production, the show stars Jon Robyns as Robbie and Cassie Compton as Julia. I really adored this show, those years back and it was a delight to get to see it again.
Based on the movie that stars Adam Sandler. It’s 1985. Hair is huge, greed is good and rock-star wannabe Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) is New Jersey’s favourite wedding singer. When his own fiancée dumps him at the altar a seriously bummed out Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own. It’s up to sweet-natured Julia (Cassie Compton) and her best friend Holly (Roxanne Pallett) lure Robbie out of the dumpster and back into the limelight? Or is he going to see her head off down the aisle with Wall Street bad boy Glen (Ray Quinn)? Only Grandma Rosie (Ruth Madoc) seems to be able to see that Robbie and Julia are the couple that is meant to be. (Synopsis from the tour’s website)
The new production is fantastic, we went to see it on Saturday which was only the second preview and you could tell that it required a lot of work but upon returning to see it last night it’s improved hugely in those few days. Everybody seems a lot more settled in their roles and a few problems with the set seem to have been ironed out, although not completely. (The doors on the big fence seem to be the worst offenders).
The leading performance of Jon Robyns is excellent, he commands the stage as Robbie and is a delight to watch throughout. His voice is top notch too. Cassie Compton brings sweetness to Julia and makes you want good things to come to her character.
There is some wonderful support from members of the cast; Ruth Madoc portrays Grandma Rosie and her performance is just a joy. The duet of “Never Too Late” with Samuel Holmes (George) in act two is hilarious. Holmes himself brings a standout performance as George, always watchable and just the most charming performer. Roxanne Pallett rocks as Holly and her vocals on “Saturday Night in the City” leave you exhilarated as you head to the bar for an interval drink. Tara Verloop plays Linda, the girlfriend who breaks up with Robbie but returns in the second act, Tara brings exceptional beauty and sexiness to Linda, especially during “Let Me Come Home”. She is clearly a beautiful human and a powerful voice too. Ray Quinn as Glen brings cocky and arrogance to his performance.
It’s a show with such a fantastic soundtrack, some songs transfer from the movie and some songs are written for the stage version. The music is by Matthew Sklar with lyrics Chad Beguelin. With songs like “It’s Your Wedding Day”, “All About The Green” and “Grow Old With You” that you’ll be singing for days after you’ve seen the show. The choreography is top-notch done by the director and choreographer Nick Winston as are the costumes and set design.
Overall, I’d highly recommend catching this touring production as you’ll come out feeling joyful, uplifted and with a song in your step. It’s a superb show that feels like one big party. It isn’t the finished article yet, hence why I didn’t give 5 stars but it’s very close!
The Wedding Singer plays at Curve Leicester until Saturday and then tours various UK venues – visit the official website for details. Click here.