Review by Michael Piscitelli
Musical theatre has always had a special place in my heart; ever since I began my love of theatre back in high school. Since then I have tried to see many different musicals; even so far as to do two summers worth of musical theatre camp at Stratford. When I was invited to critique The Wedding Singer at Hart House, it was an opportunity to finally see- instead of perform; in a musical.
The Wedding Singer is based on the 1998 Adam Sandler movie of the same name.
I know that it’s a little odd for a musical to be based on a movie instead of the other way around; but with two Tony award winners plus nominees as composition and writing, one can be sure that the result makes for an entertaining evening.
Isaac Bell, who plays Robbie Hart, the main singer in the wedding band, and Ashley Gibson, who plays Julia, Robbie’s love interest, have an amazing chemistry that makes one believe they really are like star crossed lovers who fell in love at first sight.
My only real complaint about the performance was that the stagehands were rather obviously seen moving around scenery while on stage. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I am very aware of these things or that it was very discernible in general, but I am disappointed that there wasn’t more effort put in to keeping them on the down low.
The set itself consisted of two platforms, and a Tetris-style squared wall that was rather cleverly used as a projection screen. During their big wedding scenes, a silver curtain was flown in from stage left and right to show the change in scenery. It is quick, simple and effective, leaving lots of space to move, plus room for creative license. To set and costume designer Brandon Klieman- nicely done.
People say that theatre is art, and should be exclusively art. But at the same time, it’s a form of entertainment, and sometimes one just wants to be entertained. This was certainly one of those days when such was my wish; hopefully not having to think about anything edgy, gritty or even deeply about my life. It’s one of the reasons why this writer loves musical theatre, and why I am going to definitely suggest that, if you just feel like having a good evening of entertainment, The Wedding Singer is just the show for you. Robby Hart & his Julia are at Hart House (not his family residence) until Jan.15th.