Theater archives

Perfect Wedding Gets Married to Cliché


At the beginning of Robin Hawdon’s Perfect Wedding, Bill (Matt Johnson) awakes on the morning of his marriage beside a beautiful woman (Kristi McCarson). Unfortunately, she’s not his fiancée. Though Bill doesn’t realize it yet, she’s the girlfriend of his best man, Tom (Fabio Pires), who happens to be in love with Bill’s soon-to-be-wife, Rachel (Amber Bela Muse). Let the farce begin!

And begin it does, with all the professional “fun” such a setup implies. Director Teresa K. Pond knows exactly what she’s doing, but doesn’t seem to take any joy in doing it—Perfect Wedding’s inevitable punch lines and gags are presented more as paid-for goods than as jokes. The stage, meanwhile, is as thrilling as a real-life TV set. The hotel room from The Hangover felt more authentic than this.

Not every form of life can be smothered. While the other actors dutifully sort out the tangled mess of crossed relationships and misunderstandings, Johnson smuggles some raucous energy into the role of erring groom. The man crawls under tables, cowers beneath dresses, squashes himself behind doors—basically does anything to protect himself from his very own Bridezilla. Somehow he creates an endearing Charlie Brown/Chuckie hybrid.

But a clown can never be a husband, at least not one whose marriage we care about. By the end of the play—when truth outs, couples rearrange, and everyone blitzes determinedly down the aisle—we are left with only the grinding of a genre’s gears. Avoid unless shotguns are involved.