On the day of his wedding, Bill wakes up with a monstrous hangover, slightly concussed, and in bed with a woman who isn’t his fiancée. A series of shenanigans, misunderstandings, and schemes unfold in an attempt to keep his fiancée from learning the truth. Will there still be a Perfect Wedding by Robin Hawdon and currently playing at the Bellevue Little Theatre?
Personally I found Hawdon’s script to be a laugh riot. He has an instinctive understanding of classic farce complete with the impossible situation, desperate attempts to solve said situation, slamming doors, and over the top characters. Hawdon’s story actually takes things one step further with an ending that wasn’t entirely predictable and had some surprisingly sweet moments as well.
The hand of capable leadership is present in this production with the direction of Marya Lucca-Thyberg. She definitely understands the art of the character as her actors definitely have distinctive personas. She also has a good feeling for the more creative side of farce as she conjured up several amusing bits of business.
Thomas Stoysich has a very worthy debut at the Bellevue Little Theatre with his portrayal of Bill. Stoysich does a pretty good job of making Bill likable despite the fact that he’s not all that likable of a person. However, I consider that crucial to this character because Bill’s actions are governed by a weight he is carrying on this shoulders. So he’s not a bad person, just a little soiled.
Stoysich has excellent, crystal clear facial expressions and reactions and manages to tap into the needed broadness for his character. However, his panickyness and nervousness also seemed to strike the same note and I think there was space to maintain the attitude, but change up the pitch as it were.
Kaitlin Maher gives a spot-on performance as Rachel, Bill’s fiancée. Ms Maher has a commanding presence and is truly the rock in her relationship with Bill. Clearly she has to be the more level headed half as Bill is rather flighty. She’s honest, strong, caring, and obviously deserves a lot better than Bill.
Jessica Mascarello serves as a good counterpoint to Rachel with her essaying of Judy. Where Rachel is strong and direct, Ms Mascarello’s Judy is weak and sneaky. Like Bill, she’s more soiled than bad, but she ends up being the other woman with her eyes wide open as opposed to being smashed like Bill. Ms Mascarello still manages to conjure up a degree of sympathy with her ability to project her disillusionment with love which is what fuels her character. Ms Mascarello also has a knack for physical comedy as she got to take part in some of the best sight gags.
Farce needs a strong rapid-fire energy and that was missing in the afternoon’s production. Pacing needed to be much brisker and cue pickups needed to be much sharper. Accents and acting were also a bit of a mixed bag.
The technical aspects of the production were quite potent. Taelore Stearns has constructed an excellent old-fashioned inn with doors aplenty for chases and slamming. Joshua Christie’s sound design was quite clever with a series of Tom Jones’ love songs. Nancy Buennemeyer’s costuming was well done especially with Rachel’s beautiful wedding gown and the elegant kilts of Bill and his best man, Tom.
This show is assuredly on the right path to being a rock solid laugher. A little more speed and a little tightening of delivery will permit this cast to maximize everything this entertaining script has to offer.
Perfect Wedding plays at Bellevue Little Theatre through May 20. Showtimes are Fri-Sat at 7:30pm and 2pm on Sundays. Tickets prices are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors, and $10 for students with valid ID. For tickets, contact 402-291-1554 between 10am-4pm, Mon-Fri. Bellevue Little Theatre is located at 203 W Mission Ave in Bellevue, NE.