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‘Perfect Wedding’ is perfectly hilarious

JEANETTE BILLINGS
Staff Writer
jbillings@lbknews.com

Preposterous, outrageous, nonsensical and sublimely comical is the plot of Robin Hawdon’s play, “Perfect Wedding.” The production struck a funny bone with Sarasota theatergoers during its opening Friday, Aug. 10 in the newly renovated Gompertz Theatre.

Light fades to black; slowly a faint hint of light reappears on the stage. The scene is set in a honeymoon suite in a gracious period hotel somewhere outside of London. Bill, the lead character played by veteran stage actor Graham Stuart Allen, is awakening. He is in a disheveled, post-bachelor party state of semi-inebriation and growing hangover. Hand on head and eyes a squint, Bill becomes aware of a “hump” under the duvet. Bill prods it. The hump murmurs and moves. He recoils, lifts the edge of the duvet and peers under, hastily replacing it.

“Oh, God! Oh my God! Oh my God.”

Bill peaks again and the “hump,” a female head tossed and tousled, appears from under the duvet.

The girl, Judy, says “Hello.”

“Who are you?” says Bill.

And the stage is set for the remainder of this British comedy, the story of a bachelor night gone wrong a-la-London style. It’s a race against time for Bill and his accomplices to get rid of the girl and the evidence before his fiancée Rachel arrives with her mother, Daphne, to prepare for the nuptials taking place at the hotel that very day.

Bill has a haphazardly assembled group of collaborator’s to help the storyline along with hilarious results.

Of course there is Bill himself, played by Allen, a normally straight-laced Englishman seemingly distraught about the fact that he awoke next to a strange woman.

Bill confides in his best man, Tom, played by Daryl Embry making his Florida Studio Theatre debut. Embry makes Tom a standout in the farce, with great timing, a solid proper English accent, and witty expressions that bring Bill’s dreadful situation to life.

There is Julie, the chambermaid, played by Kate Siepert, whose character becomes one of the most beloved of the play. Rachel, the bride to be played by Faith Sandberg, is trying to stay calm whilst everyone around her seems to be unraveling, though she doesn’t know why. Then there is Daphne, Rachel’s delightfully pushy mother played by Lisa McMillan.

Last, but certainly not least is Judy. The strange bedfellow played by the lovely Jenny Strassburg, who is beautiful, confused and a major plot twister to the storyline.

The play is directed with verve and a keen sense of humor and timing by Bruce Jordan. The believable and sturdy set design by Michael Lasswell holds up to much door slamming without even a wall movement. Perfectly prim, proper and lovely costume design by Sarah Bertolozzi adds to the play’s plot.

Lighting by Jeffrey Cady and Production Stage Manager Kelli Karen round out the list of contributors to the show’s success. For a night of hilarity, a laugh a minute and frolicking fun, reserve your seats to Sarasota’s “Perfect Wedding.”

Call (941) 366-9017 or visit www.floridastudiotheatre.org.

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