Wedding Fever

August 9, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

★★★★☆  Cavalcade of laughs

Mayfield Salisbury Church (Venue 11): Fri 4 – Fri 18 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Huge fun and some genuinely good comic acting are to be found in Edinburgh People’s Theatre’s Wedding Fever.

The 1960s-set tale of railway worker Alec Galbraith, his daughter Myra’s upcoming wedding, his bothersome in-laws, a strike at the railway where he works and the problems of Partick Thistle, would appear to be one of EPT’s stable of couthie Scots comedies for their 60th year on the Fringe.

Lyzzie Dell, Irene Beaver, Alistair Brown. Pic Ian McNaught

It is in fact a work by Northern Irish playwright Sam Cree. Scottish versions of some of his works were made as vehicles for Jimmy Logan, and it is a testament to the work of director Iain Fraser that you would never tell it did not start out in Glasgow.

Certainly there is a broad streak of the west of Scotland comedy tradition running through it. Ronnie Millar’s Alec is very much the put-upon patter merchant, and there is more than a hint of Fulton and Milroy, not least in some top-class drunk acting. Such comparisons are not to be made lightly, but there is comedy gold here, with the timing of the lines at least as good as their content.

There are some other top-notch comic turns – Irene Beaver wrings every last drop out of Emily, the nosey neighbour with a heart of gold, while Mandy Black’s Sadie – Alec’s long-suffering wife who can give as good as she gets – is also beautifully real.

If these characters sound like shameless stereotypes, that’s because they are. Even more so in the case of Anne Mackenzie as Sadie’s US-resident sister Georgina and Graham Bell as her husband Hiram P Hingleheifer, but both attack their roles with such gusto it is easily forgiven.

defies logical structure

The various strands of the plot defy logical structure, it meanders markedly, and there are a couple of things that make no sense at all, but it hardly matters. Instead, you get turns as good as Euan Gilroy as Myra’s glaikit, uncoordinated fiancé Dennis, Alistair Brown as his peculiar father, and Lyzzie Dell as his apparently strait-laced mother.

Mandy Black, Ronnie Millar, Alistair Brown and Lyzzie Dell. Pic: Terry Railley

Kelly Simmonds is a suitably self-contained Myra, providing a still point in the stupidity around her. Gordon Braidwood (Emily’s husband Willie) and Kyle Sutherland (Alec’s son Davy) both get enough chances to show off their comic prowess. The character of Kathleen, Myra’s bridesmaid, perplexingly gets introduced and then gets very little to do, but Emily Scher manages to give her some humanity.



EPT’s trademark attention to detail shines through in the scenery and props – I know for a fact I am not the only one whose older relatives had a light fitting exactly like that.

There is a wonderfully cohesive, well-rehearsed feel to the ensemble – another plus point for director Fraser. The end result is warm and thoroughly inclusive – not surprisingly for a play that started life elsewhere, it manages to be thoroughly Scottish but also universal. Plus there are some really huge laughs.

Running time 2 hours 30 minutes including one interval
Mayfield Salisbury Church, 18 West Mayfield, EH9 1TQ (Venue 11)
Friday 4 – Friday 18 August 2017
Mon-Fri at 7.30 pm; Saturday matinee 2.30 pm (no evening performance Sat)
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/wedding-fever
EPT website: https://www.ept.org.uk
Facebook: @EdinburghPeoplesTheatre
Twitter: @EPeoplesTheatre

ENDS

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Comments (2)

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  1. Irene Beaver says:

    Thanks Hugh.

  2. Cazl Balfour says:

    We saw the show last night – good fun & really good jokes. Everyone knows neighbours like Emily & dads like Alec. Good acting all round – all characters playing to each others strengths. Loved the outfits too – I want those kinky boots! Well done EPT another great show. Looking forward to your panto .

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