Greenhills Variety Group brought The Wedding Singer based on the Adam Sandler movie of the same name to the Waterford International Music Festival and promised to party like it’s 1986 with the musical comedy. But there wasn’t enough party and definitely not enough comedy in a production by Damien Douglas where the rocking score saved the night, even if the songs were poor pastiche of A Flock of Seagulls. Now, who remembers that British band who has Grammy hits and are most remembered, if at all, for a crazy doubly quiff hairstyles.
Add to this a set that was designed for a bigger stage and it occupied too much of The Royal stage and the jive and rock choreography had to happen in a narrow restrictive strip. This insistence of putting three big tables into wedding scenes and at times a full-size bed and two large sets of steps or risers that kept moving took the zip out of the cast and you had too many dark minutes for scene changes. Then there was a lighting plot that was either early or late for scenes. There were too many sound control glitches when mics were off then hastily banged up.
Casting was a problem with some secondary characters more capable than front line principals. Pastiche is difficult and character pastiche needs sharper attention for a Billy Idol or a Page Tina Turner or a Ronald Reagan but I must praise Niall Dempsey for a series of spot-on cameos. Dave Latham was excellent as Samie with his Flock of Seagulls hairstyle and a deadly moonwalk. He was a fine character actor. John Conway gave us George as Boy George and he was funny and good. Amanda Cunningham as Holly lit up the stage time and time again with good vocals and energy. Ciara Murphy as Linda was wild and raunchy and her on the bed song Let Me Come…Home hit many a spot for a character described as a – skanky whore.
I loved the fun of Rosie the randy Grandma and even if she wasn’t old enough she sure sang Move That Thang.
This was a boy meets girl story with a twist. Alan McHale was Robbie and Tracy Armstrong was Julia. He was at his best in Somebody Kill Me and his crazy duet Come Out Of The dumpster with Julia was fun.
Sarah Lynch Barrett was Musical Director.
In his adjudication Tony Finnegan, again without notes, praised the pit and wonderful music. He described the set as too big and clumsy and the lighting as shabby. He said some principals were not up to the roles.