“Perfect Wedding”

Play:        “Perfect Wedding”

Group:        Kirkwood Theatre Guild

Venue:        Reim Theatre, Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road

Dates:        January 21, 22

Tickets:    $18; contact 314-821-9956 or boxoffice@ktg-onstage.org

Story:    Bill awakes on his wedding day in the bridal suite of the hotel where he and his fiancée Rachel are to be married that afternoon.  Problem is, he is hung over from the previous night’s bachelor party at the hotel.  Further problem is that he is lying next to a young woman who is not Rachel, and he doesn’t know how she got there.  So, when best man Tom appears, Bill frantically implores his help.  He asks Tom to pretend that the young woman, Judy, is Tom’s girlfriend.

Since Judy is in the bathroom, Tom doesn’t really see her.  Eventually, against his better instincts, he agrees to the ruse.  Rachel shows up soon thereafter, as does a chamber maid named Julie who somehow is mistaken for Tom’s girlfriend, or rather another girlfriend. As Bill tries to keep everyone unaware of his late-night tryst, Judy adds revelations of her own, and Rachel’s mom Daphne complicates further when she arrives to help with last-minute wedding preparations.  So, who knows what exactly, and what will happen when the truth is uncovered?

Highlights:    This two-act comedy by British playwright Robin Hawdon is the type of show that community theaters, and their audiences, generally love.  It’s a madcap farce filled with mistaken identities, plenty of doors in the set design to allow for characters to quickly and conveniently enter and exit to add to the confusion and dialogue that thrives on circumstance and coincidence and is best said quickly and without much contemplation, lest reason and logic ensue.

    Kirkwood Theatre Guild’s production features a delightful performance by Sally Lister as the just-smart-enough chamber maid.  Her interpretation of the role is delicious, with delivery and mannerisms that greatly enliven the proceedings.

Other Info:    That’s an important contribution, because overall this presentation sorely misses the point of farce.  This type of comedy is meant to be played at breakneck speed to fully emphasize the pratfalls, slapstick and nonsensical statements uttered by various characters.  Robert Thibaut’s direction is tortuously slow and out of sync with the vital rhythms of the genre.

This two-hour presentation should be at least 15 minutes shorter to more naturally embrace the work’s natural ebb and flow.  Additionally, there are far too many painful scenes where a character or two seems lost in space at one side of the stage while the main action is played out elsewhere.  Only Lister seems to know what to do in one such case, preening before an imaginary mirror.

Nisrine Omri does well as Bill’s surprise bedroom guest and unexpected love interest, and Amber Muschelli is fine, if a bit too calm and collected, as the unsuspecting bride.  Lance Begnaud has his moments as the dapper best man Tom, who unravels into a manic rage of jealousy as he starts to figure everything out.  Jeff Kargus brings plenty of energy to his part as the befuddled Bill, but certainly could use more guidance from director Thibaut on the delivery of his lines, which too often are too extreme even for farce.  Janet Robey-Schwartz completes the cast as Rachel’s vapid mother.

Merrick Mohler’s functional set design provides the sundry doors for the requisite hijinks, with lighting by Lee Meyer.  Cherol Thibaut’s costumes add to the amusement, highlighted by Julie’s mod Brit chamber maid attire, Rebeca Davidson provides suitable props and JD Wade’s sound design is mostly used as an intermission interlude.

“Perfect Wedding” is nothing memorable, but a quicker-paced and more intuitive presentation would make it an entertaining evening.

Rating:        A 2.5 on a scale of 1-to-5.