June 16, 2022

The Wedding Singer

The essentials are the same but The Wedding Singer musical is different from it's source material. Slight plot changes culminate in a hilarious Vegas scene as Robbie "collects" impersonators - perhaps something better handled on stage than on screen where it might have ruined the heart of the movie. That's what's missing in this show; heart. There are bad wigs, big musical numbers and awful accents, but no heart. 

A fundamental flaw in the concept is that the two main characters, Robbie and Julia, aren't flashy enough to carry a musical. You'll find the side characters are pumped up and any of them are more than capable of having their own show. In fact I'd pay good money to watch Linda's (Ashlee Hammerin) musical, she could carry four. Also of note was Romy Vuksan as Holly, Julia's cousin, when she was wasn't overacting but had a solo and a Madonna inspired outfit she was unmissable. Give Linda and Holly free rein and the show would be 100% better...though it should be noted that both characters were overly sexualised. The rapping grandmother (Susan-Ann Walker) deserves a mention, but only for that one song.

Christian Charisiou is much hotter than Adam Sandler but where Sandler's Robbie is innocent and charming, Charisiou's Robbie comes across as arrogant, obnoxious and, as George notes, in need of an anti-psychotic. Elise McCann's Julia Sullivan was irritating rather than innocent, skipping the wide eyed ingĂ©nue they were aiming for. There's an innocence to the leads in the movie that comes across as stupidity in this production. I couldn't care about them or their romance, though part way through the second half I almost felt it when they had a duet about the love they were hiding from each other.

The cast sings original songs rather than 80's classics so there are scarce chances to sing along, a huge disappointment. It was so over produced that I almost walked out after the first song. The second act opens with the most annoying genre convention of a very long pointless song.

The audience was older than expected, heavily 60+ rather than 40+ and often unmasked as masking was not a requirement of the venue (another reason to skip this one).

This is all cheese and cringe but no charm. If you loved the movie, don't see the musical.

Tickets: $79+

Performances: 10-19 June (Wellington, show then moves to Auckland)

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