On paper, Perfect Wedding does not sound like a very satisfying comedy. Reading a plot synopsis beforehand gives the impression that the play will be a painfully corny experience that is dull and unoriginal. Luckily, the North Coast Repertory Theatre’s production is an enjoyable romp with strong comedic direction and an energetic cast.
During the night before his wedding, Bill (Christopher M. Williams) makes a big mistake in a hotel room reminiscent of the Flamingo in Las Vegas. He gets drunk at his stag party and wakes up the next day in the honeymoon suite with a mysterious woman, Judy (Brenda Dodge). With the help of his best friend, Tom (Jason Maddy), Bill tries to cover up the fact that he cheated on his fiancée. Unfortunately for Bill, but luckily for the audience, hilarious chaos occurs.
Sound like a fresh theatre going experience? If a lesser director than Matthew Wiener was in charge, it probably wouldn’t be. However, Wiener has contagious fun with Robin Hawdon’s script, which takes place in real time.
While the farcical tone is not necessarily realistic, the situations that Bill finds himself in are relatable. A key reason why there is actual emotional investment in the characters, is that by not condensing time, Wiener makes what could have been a contrived story tense and suspenseful.
Of course what matters most is if Wiener has a good sense of humor. Perfect Wedding has consistent gags with side-splitting slapstick, silly dialogue and unpredictable wit.
The ensemble is up to the task of performing many physically demanding jokes with only a fifteen-minute intermission for them to breathe. Williams, who physically resembles Ben Stiller, is a perfect leading man for this kind of broad show. Like Stiller, he will do pretty much anything for a laugh.
The biggest standouts are two supporting players. As Bill’s best man, Tom, Maddy displays so many different layers of neurosis, rage and anxiety through priceless facial expressions. Maddy is so expressive, that at times the actor seems like he came out of a classic Pixar movie.
Kerry McCue is just as uproarious as the wacky chambermaid, Julie. Watching her being both entertained and appalled by the insanity she encounters in the hotel room is a grin-inducing treat.
Maddy and McCue both get scene-stealing monologues that are ridiculously wordy and fast paced. Patrons were so impressed with them on opening night, that the crowd actually applauded their big speeches.
An issue that should be addressed is some of the yelling in Perfect Wedding. While the actors occasionally speak loudly to represent how events are getting out of hand, there was a point in Act I where the actors got so noisy that I thought I needed to wear earplugs. I was sitting in row E, so I probably had it lucky in comparison to some of the other people sitting in front of me. Hopefully, this issue will no longer exist in future performances.
Admittedly, the only way to discover how funny Perfect Wedding is, is to see it live. Whether watching it with on a date or with friends, Wiener and company provide nothing short of a good time.
[box] Performs Sundays at 2 and 7, Wednesdays at 7, Thursdays at 8, Fridays at 8, and Saturdays at 2 and 8. Tickets are $44-$48 with discounts for students, military, and seniors. Running Time: about and hour and forty minutes, with one-15 minute intermission.