‘Based on the film starring Adam Sandler’ isn’t the most appealing marketing tagline. However, his 1998 romantic comedy (set in the 1980s) The Wedding Singer remains a film that’s widely liked, in part due to the delightful Drew Barrymore.
Matthew Sklar and Chad Beguelin’s musical adaptation is, at its best, throwaway fun. The geek-chic persona of Kevin Clifton, one of Strictly Come Dancing’s most successful professional dancers, is well suited to Robbie Hart (sans Sandler’s mullet), the nice Jersey boy disillusioned by love when jilted at his own wedding.
Clifton is a highly watchable performer in possession of a decent singing voice. Rhiannon Chesterman has a pleasant stage presence as love interest Julia but adopts an affected squeaky speaking voice, and there isn’t much chemistry between them.
Director/choreographer Nick Winston’s cartoonish staging has no room for subtlety in the barn-like Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre where the only way to combat the thin acoustics is by making everything as loud as possible.
The half-hearted attempt at Reagan-era design is a real low point, tacky but not in a knowingly ironic way. More often than not, the outfits belong to an imaginary era of sartorial disasters – the bride’s dress at the opening wedding is a particular horror.
The cast’s energy levels can’t be faulted and Sandra Dickinson is particularly game as a rapping and cartwheel-turning Grandma. Many will have a whale of a time but for others, it’s a show with too many E numbers, culminating in a sugar rush and bit of a headache.