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Review: Perfect Wedding

Tyler Gillespie on a chaotic comedy about a very messy bachelor party and wedding day



You know the bachelor party was rough when the groom wakes up on his wedding day next to a woman who is not his fiancee. That's what happens — in the honeymoon suite, no less — in Jefferson Performing Arts Society's production of Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding.

  Smug-grinned Bill (Jacob McManus) needs to hide the woman, whose name he can't remember, before his fiancee Rachel (Hope Leigh) arrives at the suite to get ready for the wedding. Bill and his best man Tom (Erich Abbott) hatch a plan to get out of the wedding day mess.

  The cheating-partner premise packs in a lot of jokes, and the cast members bounce off each other in a very entertaining way. Miscommunication abounds as Bill and Tom try to remember the previous night's escapades and cover up Bill's indiscretion. McManus gives Bill an easy charm, and even though he cheated on his bride he manages to come off as lovable. McManus and Abbott feed off each other's physicality, and the two men play up the show's Hangover-esque qualities, including rambunctious scenes in which they roll on the floor fighting.

  The comedy gets crazier when it turns out that the mystery woman, Judy (Claire Speers), has ties to Tom. Judy locks herself in the bathroom to avoid Tom, and somehow the hotel maid (Lindsey M. Page) is mistaken for a prostitute. Confusion and drama escalate, and then the bride enters and wants answers.

  Speers' natural performance has an easy quality that softens her character, who is portrayed as a potential homewrecker. A few jokes directed at her land on an awkward note by ignoring Bill's actions. Throughout the drama, however, Judy seems to be the sanest person attending the wedding.

  In a few places, the story gets too chaotic, as characters sink into frenzied and thoughtless actions. The maid acts as a needed straight man, and Page's deadpan jokes and exasperation deliver needed relief.

  Perfect Wedding is a lighthearted comedy that delivers plenty of laughs. The dialogue is quick, and characters unravel in a way that's not too heavy even though the drama flirts with the demise of the engagement. I always like a show in which marriage is the subject and the punch line as well.

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