I made a decision a long time ago that if I ever get married, it would have to be a very quiet affair, at a registry office, followed by a quick drink in the pub afterwards, and then a mad dash to the airport for the flight to the honeymoon destination. It was something my intended, and my family and friends would just have to understand and roll along with. After watching Four Weddings and a Funeral and the Bridget Jones movies, and now having seen Chris Chibnall’s stage comedy Worst Wedding Ever at the Queen’s Theatre, has it changed my mind about a big wedding with all the trimmings? No, is the simple answer. I would run a mile at the mere thought of going through what poor bride-to-be Rachel (Elisabeth Hopper) has to endure in the run up to her big day when she marries fiance, Scott (Nav Sidhu).
Surely though the events of Worst must be similar to what any typical family must go through to ensure their daughter’s wedding day passes off without a hitch?
Rachel’s mum Liz (Julia Hills) just wants what’s best for everybody, while dad Mel (Derek Frood) is being dogmatic about it all. With the prospect of having to downsize the big party for various reasons, neither parent wants to lose face. So with big sister Alison’s (Elizabeth Cadwallader) hand-me-down wedding dress, a marquee, and two portable loos in the back garden, and the local pub band churning out the hits, what could possibly go wrong? Things do though when vicar Graeme (Kieran Hill) opens the door to the garden shed, wayward brother Andy (Ben Callon) shows up, and when Alison goes to spend a penny.
The Ayckbourn-esque script by Chris Chibnall (creator of ITV’s Broadchurch) will have you laughing out loud from the start. The dialogue is sharp and handled ably by a cast of solid performers, though I did wonder a bit about the accents. That annoying, stereotypical ‘mummerset’ was present throughout (where is this meant to be set?), and when the story called for music, I was readily expecting The Wurzels to step on stage singing ‘Oi’ve got a brand new combine ‘arvester’. Thankfully it’s a fabulous little three-piece band playing popular numbers from the likes of Snow Patrol and Bruno Mars.
There are some touching moments when the young couple are alone, and there is a truly moving scene when mum reveals a little secret she’s been keeping to herself. I have to praise the set design and the lighting too which are both first class. Overall it is a thoroughly enjoyable show that you don’t want to miss.
Worst Wedding Ever was originally commissioned and produced by Salisbury Playhouse in 2014, and the first performance of this production took place in Salisbury in February of this year. Here is your chance to enjoy it at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch, but hurry! The last two shows are on 1st April.
A Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, and Salisbury Playhouse Production.
Worst Wedding Ever by Chris Chibnall
Starring: Elizabeth Cadwallader, Ben Callon, Derek Frood, Lloyd Gorman, Kieran Hill, Julia Hills, Elisabeth Hopper, Nav Sidhu, Dan Smith, Chris Talman.
Director: Gareth Machin
Designer: James Button
Production Manager: John Titcombe
For ticket prices and booking details go to queens-theatre.co.uk
Box office – 01708 443333
Hear actor Julia Hills chatting with Ros Connors about the show and her role as Liz on Gateway Drivetime by clicking the link below.