The Wedding Singer soundtrack is one of my favourite musical soundtracks of all time.
The songs are fab with an infectious 80’s vibe, the lyrics are hilarious and when you blast it loud it sounds epic. The finale never fails to give me chills.
(Not to mention there’s so many great auditions songs for girls, so needless to say I’ve sung them countless times over the years.)
I’ve seen the film with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler, which I love, but I’ve never seen the stage show…until now. I was excited to see if the stage show lives up to the expectations of the soundtrack.
Well, I can now say, after seeing The Wedding Singer UK Tour on Tuesday night at Leeds Grand Theatre, that the script also doesn’t disappoint! The scenes link the score perfectly, keeping in tone with the film’s nostalgia, but amped up a bit to suit the stage.
If you haven’t seen the movie, then the general premise is that a popular wedding singer, Robbie Hart, is left jilted on his own wedding day by his bride, Linda. He then falls into a deep depression and alternatively ends up ruining other people’s weddings. He meets a sweet waitress called Julia, who is engaged to a Wall Street bigshot (Glen Ghoulia), and she helps to save him from his destructive ways and remind him that love is certainly not dead.
I’m always sceptical about ‘big names’ in musicals as they can often scrimp by with minimal singing prowess in favour of their ‘name’ boosting the ticket sales. Think Sarah Harding’s short-lived turn in ‘Ghost the Musical’… But with Ray Quinn and Roxanne Pallet headlining, I lived in hope. I liked Roxanne back in her Soapstar Superstar days and Ray came from The X Factor, so surely they would be fine.
Well sadly Roxanne wasn’t on for this performance, but instead the role of feisty Holly was played by Stephanie Clift. Stephanie handled the score with ease and her dancing stood out during her solo number ‘Right in front of your eyes’. I found myself saying ‘yaaaas gurl’ as she belted out her top notes at the end of Act 1 closer ‘Saturday Night in the City’.
Despite not being his biggest fan back on The X Factor, I was impressed by Ray Quinn‘s performance as Wall Street bad boy Glen. I wasn’t worried about his singing in his solo number ‘All about the green’, but I was pleasantly surprised by his dancing ability as he joined the ensemble boys in their dance break. Got some smooth moves there, Quinny-boy! His acting was also very good and I suitably wanted to punch him in the face the whole way through (which, by the way, is how you’re supposed to feel about that character!).
West End regular Jon Robyns led the show as the jilted wedding singer himself, Robbie Hart. Jon’s power vocals did supreme justice to the songs that I love – notable mention going to his absolutely bonkers rendition of ‘Casualty of Love’. I’m glad that producers didn’t choose a celebrity to lead this show as it could have been catastrophic. Robyns handles the role with ease, combining his comedic timing with subtlety that makes for a genuine performance.
Speaking of great performances, Ashley Emerson stood out as Robbie’s band-mate Sammy and Samuel Holmes was hilarious and loveable as keyboard-playing George. Ruth Madoc also put in a solid comedic performance as Grandma Rosie, Cassie Compton played a lovely Julia and Tara Verloop was perfect as rock chick Linda – I only wish she had more songs to sing in the show!
When you listen to a soundtrack you always have your favourite songs and then the ones you normally skip past. For me, the songs I’d usually skip past are ‘Single’ and ‘Today you are a man’, but in the show they were two of my favourite numbers. ‘Single’ was hilarious and has so much more life onstage than it does just being listened to on a CD, and ‘Today you are a man’ was just pure upbeat ridiculousness and I loved it!
‘Saturday night in the city’ was exactly as I had imagined it to be, with high energy dance routines and flashy lighting that finished Act 1 on a spectacular note. Special mention to the ensemble who were fantastic throughout – not enough people thank the ensemble, but in most cases they are the ones who lift shows from mediocre to fantastic!
The show is only running in Leeds for one more day – TODAY IN FACT! A matinee and an evening performance will wrap up The Wedding Singer at Leeds Grand Theatre, but there are still 6 weeks left of the tour. So head on over to the website to see if it is hitting a theatre near you towards the end of its run. It’s a show that doesn’t often tour so I’d snag a ticket while you can!
Locations for the rest of its run are in Brighton, Shrewsbury, Swansea, Portsmouth and Wolverhampton.
Photo Credit: All photos are from online advertising mediums for the UK Tour of The Wedding Singer.