New Music Theatre community theatre company Smash Theatrical presented their debut production of The Wedding Singer at the Schonell Theatre over the weekend to a delighted audience.
Adapted from the film classic with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the stage production (nominated for a Tony Award in 2006) presents original songs with a very 80’s flavor, including two of Adam Sandler’s original compositions.
The story follows a New Jersey wedding singer, Robbie Hart. Jilted at the alter of his own wedding, the singer can no longer find passion in his work, until he finds support from a new friend, Julia, who unfortunately is engaged to a wealthy wheeler and dealer.
Callan Warner as Robbie Hart was heart warming and showed great comic timing. Callan is a current Harvest Rain intern, and was first noted by audiences in his role of Albert Peterson in their recent production of Bye Bye Birdie. Laura Caitlin Jensen as Julia Sullivan showed great confidence on stage as her theatrical debut and her vocals were suburb. Julia is a professional vocalist, having performed with the University of Queensland Big Band and other gigs across Brisbane.
Jennifer Ashley who played Robbie’s rock chick ex-fiance Linda stole whatever scene she was in. Her vocals soared and her character work was spot on – a truly professional performance. Even when she was in the chorus as a dance, your eyes just gravitated to her. Hayley Maybury as Julia’s friend Holly also stood out with great vocals and characterisation. Special mention must also go to Jo Toia the hip rapping Grandma, which delighted audiences.
The band under the musical direction of Shane Tooley was impressive and the choreography by Caron Koch was fun and aptly tongue in cheek with signature 80’s moves, making the chorus lively and colourful with those matching 80’s formal dresses. The impressive lighting state designed Geoff Squire immediately struck the audience when entering the theatre, which helped set the tone of quality for the rest of the production. The set design by Chris Dunster and Total Production Services was simple and effective giving the lighting plot scope to ‘shine’.
A big round of applause to Joanna Pearson and Shane Tooley whose idea it was to create Smash Theatrical. If future productions exhibit as much professionalism as The Wedding Singer then Brisbane is in for a heady ride.
“Innovation is something we want to see in our productions,” Shane Tooley explains, “and with The Wedding Singer, we are trialling the concept of Tweet Seats. Audience members can book specially selected seats for 2 performances and interact with the cast and crew live during the show. This is something we’ve seen add an extra dimension to performances in the US including the recent revival of Godspell. Anything that
Director Joanna Pearson and Musical Director Shane Tooley, should be congratulated for a ‘Smash Theatrical’ production company launch which such a good quality show, and we welcome another Music Theatre company to the cultural landscape of Brisbane.
Smash Theatrical also bring with them the social media revolution with ‘Tweet Seats’, adapting the practice from Broadway, where audience members can book selected seats for two of the performances to interact with the cast and crew during the show.
The Wedding Singer plays at the Schonnel theatre till 23rd February.
More Information www.smashtheatrical.com.au
Music By: Matthew Sklar
Book By: Chad Beguelin & Tim Herlihy
Lyrics By: Chad Beguelin