City Adventure: The Wedding Singer @ Hart House Theatre
The Wedding Singer is easily one of our favourite movies; cheesy 80s music, Adam Sandler at his finest, a cameo by Billy Idol – what’s not to love? We’ve been counting down since the announcement of Hart House Theatre’s 2013-2014 season for their production of The Wedding Singer, which is on stage now until January 25.
Based on the film, The Wedding Singer musical is the story of Robbie Hart, who has to mend his broken heart and see if he can find love again with the perfect woman who stumbled into his life. With plenty of 80s pop culture, new tunes and favourites from the movie, the Hart House production stayed pretty true to the movie. There were a few modifications throughout, but overall, everything you love from the movie plays out nicely on stage.
Isaac Bell is our Robbie Hart, a younger, prettier Adam Sandler with the same charming confidence that Sandler uses to win you over, but with better hair. It’s hard not to compare the play to the movie and in doing so Bell has some very big shoes to fill, but he fills them well, hitting every comedic mark dead on and killing it during the iconic musical numbers like Somebody Kill Me and Grow Old With You. Those numbers would make or break the play for us and Bell didn’t disappoint.
Our Drew Barrymore stand in was Ashley Gibson. We’ve previously seen Gibson at Hart House for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and were happy that she brought the same energy and bubbliness to the role of Julia. The chemistry between Gibson and Bell was believable, the same kind of childish electricity you see between Sandler and Barrymore.
The Wedding Singer also had a strong supporting cast. Sammy (Matt Pilipiak) and George (Scott Foley) provided some hilarious accompaniment through the show. George’s keytar playing and flamboyancy was over the top, in the best of ways. Romina Cortina held her own as Holly, though her one big number was tragically upstaged by some serious sound and mic issues. Howard Davis brought just enough douche to Glen Guglia, we weren’t sad to see him get it in the end.
But as is often the case, there’s always one bit part that steals the show for us and this time around that was Linda, played by Sarah Horsman. While she’s a trampy, no good character, you can’t help but love what Horsman does with her, playing up the drama and belting out her songs with wind machines and strobe lights. Horsman has the powerful voice to justify all the attention she’s begging for and you can’t help but give her what she wants.
Overall, The Wedding Singer has everything you want in the stage production, from the 80s music playing in the theatre before the show, to one of the better curtain closings we have ever seen (Thriller, anyone?).
The Wedding Singer is on stage until January 25, Wednesday to Saturdays at 8pm with post show chats on Jan 11 and Jan 16 and pre show chats on Jan 25. Buy tickets.
Images from official Hart House website