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REVIEW: A Perfect Wedding?

by David Meyer

ELMIRA - The Elmira Theatre Company Inc. kicked off its season of comedy with a nightmare called Perfect Wedding.

No matter what a nervous prospective bride or twitchy groom could imagine could go wrong on their big day, not in their wildest imaginations could they conjure the problems devised by playwright Robin Hawdon for his loving couple.

The play takes its premise from a bad idea to have a stag party the night before the wedding at the inn where the wedding is taking place. The groom, Bill, played by Mike Rochford, wakes up - in the wrong room, actually the honeymoon suite - with a hangover that would knock over an average buffalo.

Even worse, he finds a body in his bed - a live one. A woman. One he’s never met. The wedding is two hours away.

He can’t remember anything - which, of course, insults the woman in his bed, Judy, played by Jill Peterson.

So, he lies to her - and the trouble begins. He realizes his bride will soon be on the way to the room and begs Judy to leave. She suddenly bolts - and hides in the bathroom, as best man Tom, played by Ken Noakes, arrives with lots of other troubles.

More plots and schemes, more lies, and more trouble builds. Judy won’t come out of the bathroom. Bill convinces Tom to pass off chambermaid Julie (the similarity of her’s and Judy’s names play a big part here), and the web of deceit passes beyond the stage of ridiculous. The plot has more twists than a licorice twirl.

One difficulty for the audience is its complexity. So many people have been fed so many lies it often seems that nobody on stage is on the same page. Some players seem to be two or three lines behind the others in knowledge when it comes to the dialogue - which makes the play hilarious in spots, but can make it somewhat difficult to follow at times.

And that is for the actors too. It has to be tough to remember lines that have no logical sequence.

We suspect the actors will hone their timing after learning what lines create the laughs.

Noakes, as Tom, whom we have seen many times, is perfectly manic as the guy who cannot seem to find the right girl. His interplay with Rochford is good, and it is even better with Kathy Fahey, the chambermaid. She offers a strong performance as the tsk tsker at all the goings on, and her scatterbrain also makes for hilarity when she completely misunderstands various situations.

Peterson does a terrific job as Jill, the girl in the bed.

The sympathies of the audience went to Shannon McCannell, who played the bride, Rachel, as mildly self-absorbed but not a lady who deserves all the things are happening around her.

She is particularly good when she finally demands to know what is going on and gives Bill what guys often refer to as “the look.”

Liz Poulton, as Rachel’s mother was a delight - the officious mother of the bride who wants the wedding, no matter what, and her costume is a marvel.

We have no doubt that director John Snowdon will correct some of the flaws in timing and the course of the run will go smoothly. Perfect Wedding is well worth seeing.

The staging is beautifully done by Deb Deckert. It is large, and features two rooms of a suite, nicely divided by a small wall and a door. It was quite believable that people on one side could not see what was going on in the next room - although there was some serious eves-dropping taking place.

The show runs at the theatre on Howard Avenue in Elmira from Sept. 15 to 24 with shows Thursday to Saturday at 8pm and Sunday shows at 2:30pm.

For tickets, call the Centre in the Square in Kitchener at 519-578-1570 or 1-800265-8977.


September 23, 2011


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