The team behind the mighty Faulty Towers Dining Experience is branching out into weddings. Or, more precisely, a wedding reception – the wedding itself has already happened. Kate and Will, desperate to keep the affair as low-key as possible, opted for a discreet registry office ceremony; however, they reckoned without the force of nature that is the bride’s mother. Lynne, resplendent in fuschia and determined to have a proper party, has gathered us all together for a surprise reception – and over the course of the evening, there are certainly many surprises, and not only for the hapless bride and groom!
As we are ushered into the dining room by the harassed wedding planner, effusively greeted by Lynne, and start to pass around the bread rolls and introduce ourselves to the strangers at our lavishly decorated table, it could be just another run-of-the-mill wedding reception. That is until the happy couple arrive and things start to get…well…a bit nuts. Without giving too much away, there are misunderstandings, accusations, flouncy exits, catering disasters, inappropriate couplings and one case of unfortunate nudity. And while to some that may still sound like a normal wedding reception, it has one great advantage – as we don’t actually know anyone involved in this matrimonial disaster, it is all incredibly funny.
The cast of four play two roles each, switching ages, clothes, accents and personalities so seamlessly that you barely notice that they are never all in the room at the same time.
Members of the audience are drafted in to fill the supporting roles and subjected to much cheerful insult. While the characters are certainly overblown stereotypes, the acting is nevertheless masterful, and it is hard to spot exactly where script ends and improvisation begins. The interaction between the protagonists is quick-fire and fully of energy, and there are a host of zingy one-liners, many of which are delivered by the groom’s aunt Marge; “If I wanted to spend my evenings listening to a drunk bewail their failed singing career, I wouldn’t have broken up with The Hoff.” The physical comedy, including some very distressing dancing and an incident involving hair and a zip, is also a delight.
Even if audience participation is not really your bag, it is impossible not to get drawn into the joyful pandemonium. When we were exhorted to join the family on the dance floor, nearly everybody leapt to their feet for a happy, cheesy bop. I think we were all very sad when the drama was over; so much so that our particular table stayed put for another hour; eating cake, finishing the wine and mulling over the crazy events of the evening.
The Wedding Reception is on at the Kingsway Hall Hotel until the end of the month, and if you use the code HURRAH when booking you get a special discounted price of £30. A bargain when you consider that you’re getting a three-course meal, tea or coffee, and a performance that will make you laugh so hard that you hurt. But if you don’t manage to catch them in London don’t worry; they will also be doing a stint at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringes. I urge you to go; you’ll never have more fun at a wedding.
Review by Genni Trickett
The basic premise of The Wedding Reception is that the audience are guests at, yes, a wedding reception.
The actors perform around and with the audience, making it a fully immersive experience – and as interactive as individual people want it to be. From arrival, through to seating, eating and dancing, the show is a classic take on an English wedding reception. The comedy, drama, tensions and fun – and love!
Rebecca Norris as Lynne/Marge
James Heatlie as Ricky/Ray
Leonie Hill as Kate/Val/Vicky
Otis Waby as Will/Marvin