The Wedding Singer – Review – Sheffield Lyceum
The Wedding Singer – Review
Sheffield Lyceum, July 2017
by Joe Bartlett
The Wedding Singer is a musical based on the 1998 box office smash film starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Set in 80’s New Jersey, expect big hair, brash clothes and greedy material girls and boys.
The story centres around wedding singer Robbie Hart (Jon Robyns) who meets waitress Julia on the eve of his own wedding. After being jilted at the alter Julia encourages Robbie to continue with his music whilst he helps her plan for her own wedding to the Gordon Gecko-esque Glen Gulia (Ray Quinn). As the pair spend more and more time together Julia starts to question the relationship with Glen and whether she really is marrying the right person.
This stage version is amusing, enjoyable and fun without ever hitting the heights of the film.
Jon Robyns is fantastic as the endearing Robbie and he shows that he has the all-round talent to be a leading man. His acting, dancing and singing are all top drawer and his comedic performance of ‘Somebody Kill Me’ brings the biggest laughs of the night.
Cassie Compton as Julia has a lot to live up to, given Drew Barrymore’s performance in the movie – but she doesn’t disappoint. Her voice is genuinely beautiful and her duet with Robbie on ‘Grow Old With You’ is enchanting.
Former X-Factor finalist and Britain’s 2017 Eurovision entrant, Lucie Jones shines as Holly, Julia’s slutty best friend. Whilst Holly initially appears to be all crude one-liners and easy jokes Lucie’s performance of ‘Right in Front of Your Eyes’ shows a more thoughtful, touching side to the character.
Ray Quinn, another X-Factor alma mater, sheds his boy next door image as bad guy Glen. Ray’s performance is outstanding, while his song ‘All About the Green’ is the highlight of the new songs in the show. He shows he is much more than just a singer with a polished acting and dancing performance.
As Robbie’s Grandma, Ruth Madoc – of Hi-di-Hi! and Little Britain fame – steals every scene she is in, even when performing a cringeworthy ‘rap’ called ‘Move That Thang’ with Robbie’s Boy George-a-like band member (played well by Samuel Holmes).
The ensemble cast all put in wonderful performances and make the most of an interesting set design with some marvellously choreographed dance.
Tony and Emmy award nominated Matthew Sklar’s score captures the sound and feel of 80’s music perfectly. It is a pleasant surprise to hear original music given the glut of jukebox musicals that are overtaking theatres.
Whilst The Wedding Singer has a flimsy plot, some jokes that simply don’t work and some dodgy New Jersey accents, the talented cast and fast paced direction soon makes you forget your woes and you’ll leave the theatre infused with a jovial spirit.
images: Darren Bell