Playwright Robin Hawdon is the British counterpart of Canada’s Norm Foster; hilarious situations made almost plausible and thus persistently delighting audiences. West End Studio Theatre’s version of the ‘What a tangled web we weave etc.” circumstance epitomizes the WEST mantra: – professionalism, professionalism, professionalism (apologies to the Real Estate industry). Perfect directing; perfect casting and perfect crew contribution make PERFECT WEDDING another surefire O.A.R. Top Ten winner for 2015! This effort delineates the phrase ‘Must See”
Like “Norman” or “ART”, the Studio (usually by popular demand) reiterates a successful endeavor and the restatement never loses its appeal. We enjoyed this play nine years ago back in our ‘Haltom” days and having director Yo Mustafa recall the same cast means this scribe could probably get away with just reprinting that 9/07/’06 column…but that would be cheating. [Can someone be charged with plagiarizing oneself?]
The plot deals with a stag party going amok; the groom wakes up with a strange girl in bed and it seems they’ve done the nasty just a few hours before his wedding. Prevarication; alternative scenarios that incorporate his best man; the housekeeper and a wedding guest become more and more convoluted. Fortunately, Mustafa allows his performers to wait-out the audience hilarity so that following dialogue isn’t missed.
Mauricio Canjura and Jennifer Farrugia are the engaged couple, while Danny Deakin is the groomsman whose arrangement responsibilities are relegated under his onuses as straight-man to Canjura’s manipulation. Farrugia’s character is an alpha female type that is a marked contrast to Canjura’s, and a perfect foil for his exceptionally mobile facial expressions. His underscoring every emotion gleans laughter even before he delivers his lines or excuses. Deakin interprets his best-man character as responsible but supportive of his friend’s dilemmas until delete spoiler –
Hint: “2 ½ Men” episode about Charlie’s closet incident with Alan’s future sister-in-law during the ceremony!
The meatiest role belongs to ‘Julie’, the housekeeper. Franny McCabe Bennett is an instinctive scene-stealer whose comedic timing is; like the play’s title –PERFECT. Every bit of body language; stance and posturing (even the histrionic bits) are gem-like. Jennifer Farrugia’s Rachel is the ‘Mr. Interlocutor’ whose function is to be the pivot/catalyst character for all the shenanigans. She fulfills the role admirably in a most credible and convincing manner. Slightly scary, she’s certainly intimidating. Deakin’s love interest is Meghan Chalmers who brings a seductive sexuality to her role interpretation without ever resorting to bimbo-ism or sleaze. This writer found her highly attractive in a ‘girl-next-door’ motif. The very Italian mother-of-the-bride is Dina Dametto and she has lost none of her vitality or interpretive skills in reprising her ‘Anna’.
Mustafa’s direction is light-handed yet focused and meticulous. Every bit of blocking is aimed at making the audience feel as though witnessing an on-going event. Utilizing each stage prop has a subtle but meaningful rationale. His technical team of costumes; lighting and especially Baljit Samrai’s stage management all function faultlessly. Continuity never falters and the requisite in & out door sequences are bang-on.
PERFECT WEDDING is the kind of play that can be enjoyed even a second or third time. So, if you were at the Oakville Centre back in ’06; don’t use that as an excuse for not seeing it again…it will be worth it! It runs until Oct. 25th.