After 17 years on the matrimonial circuit, Las Vegas wedding chapel proprietor Sandy has seen about every type of wedding! Could these four be her most memorable and hilarious…?
Nancy Frick’s sharp-witted comedy is presented in four scenes – one for each wedding – as the relationships between the couples are explored through ever-increasing farcical situations.
With four weddings, three divorces and one husband behind her, it’s unsurprising that Sandy (Jo Barnard) has become cynical about weddings, even trying to hold interventions for those she feels she can ‘save’ from making a huge mistake. However, beneath the sarcasm, Sandy holds onto her romantic aspirations as she oversees the nuptials of all the couples who pass through her entirely pink chapel.
First up are Bev (Hazel Slawson) and Stan (Neil Forster), a seemingly devoted couple who are apparently intent on getting spliced by none other than ‘Elvis’ (aka John from next door) as revenge for their exes getting together. But is all as it first appears?
Egotistical former screen stars Vanessa (Suze Avery) and Bryce (Jonathan Shepherd) refuse to accept their glory days are far behind them, so engineer their ceremony as a publicity stunt to kick-start their flagging careers. But where are the fans – and the press?!
The most unlikely couple is walking-postcode-encyclopaedia Marvin (Robert Osborne) and feisty ex-con Fiona (Rachel di Nucci). But will they get to tie the knot before either Fiona’s still-convict-ex-boyfriend or the police can object?
As the only actor to appear in all four scenes, Barnard is an acerbic yet empathetic lynchpin between the unconventional couples, balancing the nuances of her character with understanding and warmth. As opening night progressed, she grew in confidence as she emphasised Sandy’s sardonic side, adding another dimension to her character which contrasted well with her more affectionate sentimental persona, and I’m sure this will develop further as the week progresses.
The couples, officials and guests are hilariously brought to life by the cast, with all having their moments to shine amongst the stand-out performances, although some American accents are better than others.
Avery commands the performance space as ‘lushious’ (sic) Bridezilla Vanessa (with a dress that deserves a programme credit of its own!), while I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Slawson’s emotional Bev!
Joe Hand is compelling as John, the minister next door who steps in to save the day, while his Elvis impersonation is amongst the best I’ve witnessed. Philip de Grouchy is full of charisma and energy, clearly having a ball as locum minister Lou, even if Lou’s Elvis impersonation is well past its best by date! Sam Hussey is a riotous force of nature as jailbird Fist, the comical third wheel in the relationship between Marvin and Fiona.
This is James Lawson’s second production as a director, but he has chosen an excellent cast, overseeing a production packed with charismatic performances performed at a slick pace, which is both engaging and entertaining. With a simple, pink set that captures the essence of a tacky Las Vegas chapel, musical interludes to cover scene changes in keeping with both the location and set dressing, and the addition of a live feed, there is genuinely something for everyone to appreciate.
This is a most enjoyable way to warm your heart and soul on a cold February evening and you are cordially invited to get your tickets for the date of your choice! Elvis will be performing more wedding ceremonies at 7.30pm until Saturday 5 February (8.00pm on Friday 4 February).