By Art Thomas
The British have a talent for constructing tight plays. This is the case with “Perfect Wedding,” a farce that is currently on stage at Huntington Playhouse. With only six characters, there’s a lot of running around, mistaken identities, and hopefully laughs for the audience. There are lies on top of lies to solve situations, which only worsen.
By the way, don’t come late, as I did on the opening weekend. You’ll spend most of the first act figuring out what the “reality” is. The premise here is that Alex Nalbach is Bill, a gentleman to be married. Following a night of drinking, he wakes up on the morning of his wedding in the hotel’s bridal suite. He’s a day early, and worse, he’s in bed with a woman who is not his fiancé, but rather his best man’s girlfriend. By an astonishing coincidence, his best man, Tom, is getting married the same day. And, by the way, Bill’s bride is on her way to use the suite to get dressed. In the Huntington production, Marybeth Morris is Rachel, Bill’s intended, and Christine Fallon is Judy, Tom’s fiancée.
For about two hours, the cast fly across and around the stage. The set is two rooms, with a connecting door. Part of the play’s humor and premise is based on the British sense of class, which is alien to us Americans.
Under the direction of Dan Sekanic, the cast pours out energy in the extreme. Wisely, Sekanic does not let the pace of the production become too fast. The result is that even a latecomer can follow what’s happening. The cast takes on sorta-kinda British English accents. As Judy, Christine Fallon has some wonderful moments when she is forced to portray an “upper class” bride. Her character is lower class. Nalbach’s Bill is as rubber faced as Jim Carey at his most extreme. Starting at a high level, the character did not have a chance to grow or develop further, however.
As Tom, Greg Mandryk does evolve through the production. From helpful reasonable friend, he descends into a tuxedo-clad frenzy, waving a knife at everyone who annoys him. Somehow a toilet brush becomes part of the action as well.
As sexy Rachel, Marybeth Morris adds to the plot’s outrageous turns. Watch a wedding dress get passed from person to person.
In the spirit of farce, the lower class characters become the “voice of reason” and more sensible than their upper class superiors. So too in “Perfect Wedding.” Julie, the housekeeper, tries to be helpful, but winds up being sucked into the subterfuge. Linda Sekanic is “best of cast” in underplaying situations-and ultimately getting the biggest laughs. It’s a good performance.
Completing the cast is Donna Meyers as Daphne, the mother of the bride. Her screeching voice is one of the most annoying things you will experience in theater.
“Perfect Wedding” has performances through this weekend. The small audience I was part of on opening weekend enjoyed the production, as did I. The show deserves larger audiences.