McLean Community Players continues its tradition of producing shows that most people have not heard of with aplomb. The area premiere of British playwright Robin Hawdon’s Perfect Wedding–an often-performed farce (in hundreds of other countries), plays its final performance tonight and it’s a pleasant and often-time funny production directed with much energy on the stage at at McLean’s intimate Alden Theatre. It’s performed by a cast of 6 hard-working actors. As most British farces do-they force the cast to run around the stage, dash in and out of doors, and yell a lot and look surprised and tortured as one layer after another of plot twists and ‘skeletons in the closet’ are unveiled in a silly often hysterical manner. There’s plenty of that here.
Let’s get this out of the way first-this ain’t Noises Off-another popular British Farce which has had recent productions by The Keegan Theatre and First Stage. This is a more simple story and there is no great ‘whodunit’ at the end that makes the audience say, “Oh my God! So that’s what happened!” You can figure this one out pretty quickly and that’s a plus because you can put all your energy into the joy of watching this cast interacting with each other and watching them having so much fun doing it.
Veteran director Carol Strachan is fortunate to have found a talented cast who is willing to run through doors and deal with the physical demands of the show (Matt Baughman played Bill earlier on in the run). Will MacLeod is rather silly and frantic and endearing (at least in the end) as the confused groom. Caity Brown is adorable as Judy, the unexpected guest in Bill’s bed, and who wouldn’t want to run away with her? Matt Sims dominated all his scenes as the manic Best Man who has had more girlfriends than I have fingers and toes. When this man gets mad on the stage and wields a weapon- you better get out of the way or you will have a ‘Eunuch’ experience. Jessica Inzero, as the Bride Rachel, is perfection as the proper, smarmy, and not-so-stupid bride and she looks stunning in Costume Designer’s lovely dress and wedding gown she has created for her-and so does Caity Brown, but that’s another story you will see when you see the show tonight (which I hope you will). Carol Steele is fine as the stereotypical overly excited mother of the bride -Daphne-and looks perfectly silly in Boyd’s hat and dress she has fashioned for her. Give her an award for the most annoying rendition of “Here Comes the Bride” I have ever heard.
But the show belongs to the chambermaid (Julie) played with ‘oomph’ by Rebecca Fischler. She’s fun and assertive and handles everything thrown at her with ease. I loved watching her stare her co-stars down as she pretends to be someone she isn’t. It would have easy for her to play her role way over-the-top but here you feel for her and root for her and pray she will just get the hell out of their, clean the bedroom, and throw these loonies out.
Set Designer Skip Gresko successful recreates a honeymoon suite in a country-house hotel somewhere near Lonfon. The Living room and bedroom venues are divided on the stage and look like a hotel suite I recently stayed in in NYC. As I said before Susan Boys had done a wonderful job with dressing the women in the play with colorful dresses. The men simply wear formal tuxes that and are also put through a workout. Special kudos to Sound Designer Revathi Murthy for the crisp sound-I understood every word that was spoken on the stage clearly and that’s a major accomplishment especially in a farce. Lynne Glikbarg’s provided simple yet effective lighting. Mary McFarlane did a fine job with her Set Dressing and Decoration. I wanted to rent that suite.
Perfect Wedding plays its final performance tonight May 10th at the McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre-1234 Ingleside Avenue, in McLean, VA. For tickets, call (703) 790-9223, or purchase them online, or at the door.
Through a cooperative agreement with The Metropolitan Washington Ear, along with the support of the Alden Theatre, audio description services for individuals with vision challenges will be offered at tonight’s performance.
The McLean Community Players, based in McLean, Va., celebrates both the musical and dramatic theater traditions. Putting up four shows a year, two musicals and two plays, MCP is committed to doing theater for the community, in the community, with the community, and sustained by the community.