Perfect Wedding

August 20, 2019 | By | 1 Reply More

★★★★★    Practically perfect

The Royal Scots Club (Venue 241): Mon 19– Sat 24 Aug 2019
Review by Hugh Simpson

Perfect Wedding, the Edinburgh Makars’ production at the Royal Scots, is an object lesson in how to put on a farce.

Well acted, impeccably timed and with direction as sharp as a needle, it is a gloriously silly, relentlessly funny concoction.

Alex Fleming and Georgia Smith. Pic Martin Burnell

Bridegroom Bill wakes, hungover, on his wedding day to find a naked woman in his bed. The imminent arrival of his bride means he tries to persuade his best man to pretend she is his girlfriend. Unfortunately, the arrival of the hotel chambermaid simply confuses matters…

Robin Hawdon’s traditional farce displays some extremely old-fashioned attitudes, but is structured with extreme care and features a succession of pleasing set-pieces. What is most noteworthy here is how an unstoppable comic rhythm is created, while still giving the characters room to breathe.

Alex Fleming’s Bill, looking for all the world like a crumpled Harry Potter, instantly engages the audience’s sympathies even if his behaviour is thoroughly reprehensible. Best man Tom is singularly ill-advised to go along with him, but Robert Wyllie’s performance – like a nonplussed spaniel constantly chasing his own tail – similarly has a thoroughly likeable quality.

What helps to give their actions some kind of perspective is the clever use of the chambermaid Julie, who like a servant in Moliere is able to chastise the other characters and give the play some kind of moral centre.

Robert Wyllie, Alex Fleming, Lucy Wilson, Emma Swift, Ailie Henderson and Georgia Smith. Pic Martin Burnell

Ailie Henderson gives Julie an insouciant glee that is very impressive. All three of these performers – and Henderson in particular – display expert timing, enabling them to make seemingly throwaway remarks land with the force of a killer punchline.

This timing is, of course, largely down to the efforts of director Dario Dalla Costa, who has fashioned a production where every moment has been thought out and choreographed. While a verbal comedy can afford to have jokes fall flat, farce falls apart if the physical timing is out. Here, every entrance and exit is timed perfectly.

internal logic

This is helped by a plot that follows its own internal logic rigorously – at least until the ending, which pulls off the neat trick of being simultaneously totally predictable and entirely lacking in sense.

Georgia Smith’s mysterious ‘Girl” (although one of the joys of the story is that her real identity is no mystery at all) also follows her own entirely consistent, if completely unfathomable, course. Smith gives the character considerable presence. Emma Swift, as the bride’s mother, is something of a one-note characterisation but is discharged with real gusto.

Georgia Smith, Robert Wyllie, Lucy Wilson, Emma Swift, Alex Fleming and Ailie Henderson. Pic Martin Burnell

Possibly the best thing in the whole production is Lucy Wilson’s portrayal of bride-to-be Rachel. She doesn’t get any of the running around or funny lines, but she is the one around whom everything revolves. Unshowy, unfussy and utterly believable, she is the pivot around which the madness unfurls.

Alasdair Taylor’s set rises to the challenges of staging a farce expertly, and the technical side of the production is handled very well indeed.

Even with an interval, this still clocks inat under two hours, and it is difficult to imagine the pace being bettered. It approaches the breakneck but is still comprehensible. The only criticism would be that the performers tread over the laughter a little. This at least means the momentum is maintained.

One of the considerations when awarding five stars in a review has to be whether you think there is much that could have been done to make this better. And here, in all honesty, there isn’t.

Running time 1 hour 50 minutes including one interval
The Royal Scots Club, 29-33 Abercromby Place, EH3 6QE (Venue 241)
Monday 19–Saturday24August 2019
Daily at 7.30 pm
Tickets and details: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/perfect-wedding

Makars website: http://www.edinburghmakars.com
Facebook: @edinburghmakars
Twitter: @EdinMakars

ENDS

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  1. Robin Hawdon says:

    Well done the company! And thanks for a great review.
    Robin Hawdon (author)

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