Tuesday, May 28

The Wedding Singer – The Grange Theatre

The award-winning musical theatre group ‘The Zodiac’ presents its 102nd production, founded in 1968 they have been entertaining and wowing audiences for over five decades. ‘The Zodiac’ is a registered charity that aims to bring theatre and the arts to their local community making it accessible to all.

I was delighted to meet Matt Weaver the Chairman of this superb theatre group who spent time explaining about ‘The Zodiac’ and their training programme. It was heart-warming to hear how the group had evolved and the way they pride themselves on the family ethos. There are honorary life members in the theatre group/cast including Valerie Ball who is the President of ‘The Zodiac’ and was also up on stage as the character Angie in ‘The Wedding Singer’!

I had not seen a Zodiac production before this evening, however, there were quite a few cast members I have seen before performing for other theatre groups. I love that modern actors can source out theatre groups that suit them and are able to perform in shows they desire.

‘The Wedding Singer’ storyline is based in the 1980’s where: permed hair, padded shoulder jackets, bright vibrant colours, with lots of velour, velvet and polyester clothes were all the rage! Rock star wannabe Robbie Heart (Blair Smith) is the most in-demand wedding singer of the time, but when his own wedding plans go down the pan and he is left standing at the altar by his beloved Linda (Libby Marshall), his heartbreak suddenly makes him the worst wedding singer you can find!

He ruins a wedding after returning to the band, but it is here he connects with Julia (Kirsten Dunn), a pretty young waitress who dreams of her own perfect wedding. There’s just one problem: she’s already engaged to Glen (Mackauley Carter), a rich, shallow Wall Street broker. Despite Robbie and Julia’s growing feelings, a series of miscommunications lead them away from each other, but the question is – will love prevail and conquer all?

The production team have done a phenomenal job in creating the perfect setting, staging, lighting and costumes for this musical and I have to say singerly noteworthy was the choreography as it was first-class! I have seen Jessica Martin’s choreography in the past and have always been impressed how she manages to make a large cast synchronise and look so professional, tonight’s display of dance and movement was sensational, personally being the highlight of my evening. The cast was accompanied by a 5-piece live band under the direction of Craig Price, which played flawlessly throughout.

Director Lou Steggals’s casting is magnificent with tremendous strong lead roles, Blair Smith and Kirsten Dunn gave a sterling delivery as Robbie and Julia, both worthy of any professional staging. Their duet of ‘If I Told You ‘And ‘Grow Old With You’ was sincere and from the heart leaving me absolutely overwhelmed with emotions as I was completely absorbed by the coupling.

Tayler Spruce played George the flamboyant, sensitive, eccentric keyboardist in the group and his rendition and interpretation of the role was outstanding, colossal applause to Spruce.

A popular casting was that of Grandma Rosie by Kate Walker who gave a wonderful delivery of the rapping grandmother who is loving, honest, adventurous and most definitely fun!

The casting clearly had its strengths which provided a wholesome production of ‘The Wedding Singer’, there were some opening night nerves, but I can imagine this will evaporate quickly. The whole cast and ensemble were a pleasure to watch, and I thoroughly enjoyed their individual characters as it is always exciting to see the talent in these hidden gems of theatre groups.

Well done to each and every individual involved in this stunning production of ‘The Wedding Singer’ and I will look forward to the next ‘The Zodiac’ staging.

The show runs until the 11th of November 2023, so grab a ticket and in the words of the Chairman “be prepared to tap your feet, laugh out loud, maybe shed a tear or two as you are transported back to the glorious days of big hair, shoulder pads and neon lights”!

Playing until 11th November with limited seats on Friday & Saturday, https://www.thegrangetheatre.com/theweddingsinger

Reviewer: Katie Leicester

Reviewed: 8th November 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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