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The Wedding Singer at New Alexandra Theatre - Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
Event: -
Does it live up to the film?
Transforming a popular movie into a successful stage musical is all the rage at the moment but making it a success is another matter. So how does The Wedding Singer fair?

Wedding singer uk tour, Birmingham new Alexandra theatre
The musical of The Wedding Singer


Based on the popular film starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, The Wedding Singer is the latest of these shows to tour the UK. Reaching Birmingham, it stopped off at New Alexandra Theatre from May 23 to 27.

Although the story is set in 1985 and opens with a video featuring the Back to the Future car, it's disappointing that it doesn't feature any 1980's songs. While it's the same storyline as the movie, it has a brand new original musical score.

That said, the soundtrack is good, it's just completely new to an audience that probably expects to hear familiar '80's chart hits. There was no Culture Club, Dead or Alive or similar and I did hear women grumbling in the toilets about this at the interval.

Wedding singer, Birmingham new Alexandra theatre
Job Robyns and Cassie Compton have a good chemistry


While most of the songs have a love angst theme, there are also some unique pieces like Ruth Madoc of Hi-de-Hi fame doing a rap. It's something I never thought I'd ever see but it was one of the most fun moments of the show.

Madoc plays the saucy grandmother of main character Robbie Hart, who is an unlucky in love wedding singer after being dumped at the altar. There's a lot of love for her from the audience.

Robbie, meanwhile, is played by an excellent Jon Robyns, who was last seen at New Alexandra Theatre in Avenue Q. He's got the voice and stage experience to carry off the role and has a good chemistry with newcomer Cassie Compton from X Factor, starring as his love interest Julia.

Julia is a waitress who helps Robbie overcome his heartbreak. There's some good characterisations that make you care about what happens next.

The wedding singer, Birmingham
A strong cast in The Wedding Singer


Among the motley crew is Julia's best friend Holly and Julia's Wall Street bad boy fiancÚ Glenn, played by Tara. Berlioz and Ray Quinn respectively. They both give slick performances and impress with their voices and dance moves among a strong cast.

It feels as though plenty of money has been thrown into this production as there are a series of lavish sets using videos and big dance numbers. There are some moving songs too, especially If I Told You and Not That King Of Thing.

While it's a well-performed show, The Wedding Singer musical doesn't live up to the comedy or 1980's expectations of the film. If you go into it with fresh eyes and prepared for something new, then it's an enjoyable enough musical.

RATING:

The Wedding Singer
New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham
May 23 - 27

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes including an interval.
Parental guidance is advised due to the occasional use of strong language.
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Why? Musical based on Wedding Singer film
When: Til sat 27 may
Where: New Alexandra Theatre
Your Comment
Ruth Madoc sounds great but tend to agree it'd be lacking something without those great retro songs.
by Romy Page (score: 2|308) 150 days ago
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