Jon Robyns strikes a chord as The Wedding Singer. Pictures: Darren Bell 

The Wedding Singer

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre


Musicals based on films can, and often do, work well. The list of stage shows adapted from movies is long and, at times, impressive.

Sunset Boulevard, Little Shop of Horrors, Billy Elliot, 42nd Street, Hairspray and The Lion King are just some of the hugely successful transitions that hold their place on stage equally as well as on screen. Sadly, The Wedding Singer falls somewhat short of making the list.

The 1998 movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore tapped into 80’s nostalgia and proved an ideal platform for Sandler’s comic talents. Whilst it had undoubted feel good appeal, it lacked real substance which probably explains why a stage adaptation is not really able to make things any better.

Content is paper thin and it’s all so very formulaic. Boy can’t get girl. Girl falls for a bad boy. Girl changes her mind. Everyone happy. Hardly a spoiler alert there as it’s pretty clear from very early on what the outcome will be. At times, it’s almost pantomimic. At least with a panto, the stereotypes are expected.

Characters come and go. A lovable town drunk; a rapping Grannie; a raunchy ex-girlfriend. Even Tina Turner and Billy Idol make an appearance. They all add some layers to the storyline but its not enough to add real flesh to the bones.

It needs to be more than a succession of song and dance numbers punctuated by a few linking scenes. There needs to be substance. There have to be layers. The audience needs to connect with the people on the stage and the journey they are taking.

Musically, too, there are problems. Most successful shows have at least one memorable tune. One song that stays in the head. With the possible exceptions of All About The Green and Grow Old With You, there is nothing that lingers here. It’s all perfectly pleasant but somewhat safe.


John Robyns as the Wedding Singer and Cassie Compton as Julia 

A hard-working company do their upmost to bring the show alive. Ray Quinn proves he is far more than an ex-X Factor contestant with a sharp and believable portrayal of love rat, Glen Gulia whist Cassie Compton as Julia hits all the right notes in a sweet performance.

Jon Robyns, as our eponymous hero, belts out the tunes beautifully and quite rightly resists trying to emulate Adam Sandler’s stand-up style of delivery.

Ruth Madoc is hardly tested as the go getter Grannie, Rosie, but she does what is expected of her with gusto. Her delivery and comic timing, though, deserves better writing.

Dance routines are slick and punchy. Songs are delivered well and pace is maintained throughout. Projected film sections help keep the feel of the 1980s and work well as part of a fluid set.

Die hard musical fans will love this because the basic elements are all there and they are done with polish. It’s certainly a real antidote to a windy night in Wolverhampton.

Like a lot of Wedding Singers, this show is a lot of fun and its heart is in the right place. It just doesn’t have quite the star quality to make it to the top.  To 07-10-17.

Tom Roberts


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