Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

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There Goes the Bride - slowly, but she makes it

Required: ludicrous amounts of hallucinogens

Pavlo's soul is his guitar

There Goes the Bride -
slowly, but she makes it

There Goes the Bride

Bob Coltri, Fern Tepperman, Mark Mooney, Bill Meaden, April Chappell, Maggie Rodger, Ruth Choma, Allan Leitch

Directed By: Harry Bolton

Three stars (out of five)

By Stephen Pizzale
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER. It isn't until the second act of There Goes the Bride that the cast get down and dirty with the action.

When attending a play, you might find yourself sitting on the edge of your seat. It may be because the performance is so riveting, hilarious or thrilling, you can't tear your eyes away – or it may be because you're so bored you can't wait to get up and leave the theatre.

It takes a lot for a play to make a turn around from tedious or boring to near comedic perfection, but There Goes the Bride manages to make that complete turn in a little under two hours.

While the play runs the gamut from slow and drawn-out to perfectly executed madcap antics, it requires the audience to have patience, while the actors and plot work up a head of steam.

The play opens to a present day London, England living room. The Westerbys, an apparently normal family, are understandably frazzled from attempting to tie off loose ends before their daughter's wedding that afternoon.

When Tim Westerby (Bob Coltri), an absent-minded and overworked ad-executive, bangs his head, he begins to envision a "flapper," an unconventional, panicky woman of the 1920s.

While his wife Ursula (Fern Tepperman) and business partner Bill (Mark Mooney) desperately try to get ready for the wedding, daughter and bride-to-be Judy (Maggie Rodger) locks herself in her room and refuses to come out.

Grandfather Geral (Bill Meaden) and grandmother Daphne Drimmond (April Chappell) put in their own two cents and generally make things difficult for the family to get to the church on time.

During the entire first act, the actors garner only meagre laughter from the audience through cliché one-liners. Unfortunately, there aren't any fast-paced antics written for the first act, thus the plot seems to be bogged down by something else.

Director Harry Bolton does only a mediocre job of creating comedic tension as the play proceeds – the actors, if not speaking, are frozen in position and stiff moving. They don't seem quite comfortable in their roles.

Rather than feeling teased by the impeding explosion of hilarity that is to come, the audience seems to sense the action is being dragged on just to get to the intermission. Combined with the actor's flatness, the result is a play that seems to be tedious and grating rather than funny.

Thankfully, by the second act, the players have warmed up. The action picks up and zany antics intensify. The choreography flows much better and the timing of the actors is bang on. This is the release long-awaited by the audience.

With the entrance of the Aussie father-of-the-groom (Allen Leitch), the cast finally gel completely.

While at first the dialogue between characters was laboured and predictable, as the play went on, the wit of authors Ray Cooney and John Chapman really shines through. There isn't a lull in the action as the family tries to keep delusional Tim Westerby away from his future father-in-law who is threatening to call off the wedding.

Even though There Goes the Bride gets off to a slow start, the actors persevere and finally seem to settle in just as the action heats up. The end result is an endearing comedy that packs quite a punch, even if a little late in coming.

There Goes the Bride plays until Feb. 9 at The Palace Theatre, 710 Dundas St.. Tickets are available by calling the Grand Theatre Box Office at 672-8800.

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