The title of Very Little Theatre’s latest mainstage show, Perfect Wedding, is a bit of an oxymoron: There’s no such thing.
Karen Scheeland’s production of British playwright Robin Hawdon’s comedy captures all the neuroses of the special day — and then some. When groom-to-be Bill (Peter Fehrs) wakes up in bed with a woman he doesn’t know the morning of his wedding, he tries to cover it all up. The cover up becomes an elaborate mix up involving the best man, Tom (Mark Anderson); a hotel housekeeper, Julie (Samantha Cross); and the best man’s new girlfriend, Judy (Alison Meeler).
The cast of six keeps the play moving in a quick rhythm. The dialogue is just fast enough to keep the action moving without sacrificing the biggest comedic moments, such as when the bride’s mother Daphne (Tere Tronson) enters a room amid the chaos of conversation and exclaims, “It’s going to be a perfect wedding!” As Rachel the bride-to-be, played by the wonderfully articulate first-time thespian Diana Sobczynski, dons her dress for her big day, secrets reveal themselves and plans change.
It’s easy to get lost in the wedding-day action, especially with the similarity between character names like Judy and Julie. And there’s the wordplay that comes with British humor that might throw audiences off, but what’s nice is that the characters are right there with the audience in this confusion. That’s the thing about Perfect Wedding. It’s confusing because it’s meant to be confusing — not because it’s executed poorly.
University of Oregon student Samantha Cross steals the show as hotel housekeeper Julie. Her feistiness and timing mix well with her character’s astute observations about the dynamics between Bill, Rachel and their friends. Her exclamation “You all are like rabbits. Wait, no, that’s an insult to rabbits!” garnered some of the loudest laughs in the show.
Michael Walker’s set design and Vern Haffner’s set dressing complemented the English setting of the show. With two parallel rooms connected only by one door, the structure allowed for some of the funniest physical gags in the show. It’s hard not to laugh when Tom runs around with a butter knife and bursts through the door with a manic look on his face.
Perfect Wedding isn’t just a light British comedy, though. As Julie points out earlier in the show, the characters all sleep with each other and then try to cover it up. When she says, “Are you sure you want to marry him?” to Rachel, the words hit with a sting. The wedding may not be perfect, but the show is close to getting there. — Sararosa Davies
Perfect Wedding runs 7:30 pm Thursday, June 22, to Saturday, June 24. Tickets for the last weekend of performances can be purchased at VLT’s box office before the show or at TheVLT.com.