It’s a decade that tends to induce extreme cringing, but throw the best – and perhaps worst – of the 1980s together on stage with some serious power ballads and all is forgiven.
Based on the Hollywood hit film of the same name, The Wedding Singer follows jilted groom Robbie Hart and waitress Julia Sullivan, who become friends while working together on New Jersey’s wedding circuit.
The pair grapple with heartbreak, indecision and their own burgeoning feelings for each other as Julia prepares to marry Wall Street poster boy Glen Guglia.
The easy chemistry of the film’s stars, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, is hard to replicate, especially with the distraction of all the song and dance, but the stage version’s Robbie (Christian Charisiou) and Julia (Teagan Wouters) are a charming pairing.
The real fireworks come in the form of Adelaide’s own Nadia Komazec, who treats the audience to a jaw-dropping ode to Flashdance. Nadia, who grew up performing in her mum’s Norwood dance school, Barbara Jayne Dance Centre, is exciting as rebellious Holly.
The perms are big but so are the voices and a clear standout is Kirby Burgess (Grease/Hairspray/Bring it On The Musical) as Linda, the would-be bride who leaves Robbie at the altar. Burgess takes the show into some serious ’80s rock territory with her stunningly powerful voice in Let Me Come Home – a throwback to the racy film clips of the era.
Of everyone behind the scenes, this is one show where the costume department, led by Kim Bishop, no doubt had the most fun, creating a whirlwind of puffy sleeves, ruffled skirts and an absurd amount of shoulder pads.
There was nothing subtle about colour choices in the ’80s and the stage is illuminated with dazzling neon lighting, shining brightly on the sea of sequins and polyester.
The score is lively and the ensemble brings all the energy to the stage in the big numbers that bookend the intermission. Charisiou and Wouters inject the romance with a couple of slower numbers that fully showcase their vocal talent.
The musical comedy perfectly balances a sentimental homage to the era, while rightfully laughing uproariously at all the outrageous trends.
The Wedding Singer is playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre until April 24.