Sunday, November 8, 2009

Depot at ASF "The Wedding from Hell"

U p d a t e :
After a brief successful run in Wetumpka, "The Wedding from Hell" transferred for two performances at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where it played to sold-out houses much to the delight of the audiences. -- Under Kristy Meanor's direction, the shift from procenium to three-quarter-round staging was successful in keeping characters audible and in view of the audience, though some of the movement got a bit distracting [the recitation from Shakespeare's "Richard III" worked better with less movement].

Written by Depot members Tom Salter, Kristy Meanor, and Mary Katherine Moore, this 90-minute comedy takes a Southern wedding to ridiculous heights and includes "every redneck stereotype in the book" going through their dysfunctional paces at the "Miller-Light wedding" [get it?].

All the bridesmaids are called Brittney [as is the "pregnant" bride], there's a Bible-thumping preacher named Wanker, an effeminate wedding planner named Dash LaRue, frustrated beauty queens, clog-dancers, assorted drunks, a shotgun-toting father of the bride and his over-sexed wife, a social climbing ex-wife, and an Elvis impersonator among the 24-member cast of characters.

Some tightening has been made to the production since its first appearance, and singular hilarious moments have been improved. Especially notable is Merilee Robinson's "signed" interpretation of "The Rose" done brilliantly in dead-pan. It brought down the house.

Without exception, the actors continued their remarkable sense of ensemble without ever breaking character and without any attempt to try to be funny. And it is clear that they were enjoying themselves.

There is a lot of clever dialogue, and the situations get more and more complicated as time passes. It is too bad that an intermission was included -- the whole running time was just 90 minutes; a sustained hilarity would have been preferable.

Outrageous costumes, wigs, and props completed the picture, making "The Wedding from Hell" a rambunctious romp and a total delight.