There was an electricity last night at the Athenaeum Theatre that I haven’t felt in a live venue for a long time. Even before the cast of The Wedding Singer hit the stage the maskless, full-capacity crowd had a buzz going through it. Perhaps it was the blue carpet arrivals or perhaps it was the fact that the crowd seemed to be relaxed and having fun but it finally felt that was live theatre was back in a post-Covid Melbourne. Luckily for all of us there there was also a buzz amongst the cast last night and they were there to deliver there A-Game.
Based on the 1998 Frank Coraci film of the same name The Wedding Singer centres around Robbie Hart (Christian Charisiou) the lead singer of a well-loved New York wedding band called Simply Wed. And while Robbie is the perfect front-man his band-mates, Sammy (Haydan Hawkins) and George (Ed Deganos) dream of bigger and better things. And while he loves performing at weddings and making people happy even Robbie is starting to realise that he can’t live in his Grandmother’s (Susan-ann Walker) basement forever.
Then on the day of his own wedding to the very sexual Linda (Kirby Burgess) Robbie’s world is turned upside down when he is left at the altar. Suddenly Robbie doesn’t believe in love any more and certainly doesn’t want to be the front-man of a wedding band anymore.
Meanwhile two waitresses that work at the reception centre frequented by Simply Wed watch on and try to help anyway they can. Holly (Nadia Komazec) has recently broken up with Sammy and refuses to admit that he is right when he says that she is not over him, while her best friend Julia (Teagan Wouters) is waiting for the day that her money-hungry boyfriend Glen Guglia (Stephen Mahy) proposes to her so she can countdown to becoming Julia Guglia.
The cast and crew of The Wedding Singer really need to take a bow because everything came together perfectly for this show. As a musical The Wedding Singer goes far beyond your average show that just features covers of 80s and 90s hits. The original tracks here (with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin) are all memorable and I dare anybody to leave the theatre without humming either It’s Your Wedding Day or Grow Old With You. When it comes to actual stage presence Love The Green is a stand-out while the audience erupted into laughter during the classic I Want To Die.
When it came to the cast there were no weak links. Leading man Christian Charisiou was brilliant all night as he mixed comedy and emotional moments from start to finish while Nadia Komazec and Kirby Burgess sizzled all night… the latter bringing in some amazing burlesque moves. Teagan Wouters handled the more reserved Julia well while Haydan Hawkins and Ed Deganos stole every scene they were in.
Everything comes together amazingly well with The Wedding Singer. The songs are memorable, the cast sensational and even set moves add atmosphere to the show… as does the general staging and lighting. This is a stunning show not easily forgotten by its audience.
The Wedding Singer runs until the 14th May at Melbourne’s Athenaeum. Tickets can be purchased here – https://athenaeumtheatre.com.au/facebook-event/the-wedding-singer-the-musical-comedy/