PLAY REVIEW: After a two-year delay, 'Four Weddings and an Elvis' hits the Victoria Jubilee Hall stage

·3 min read

It was worth the wait.

Two years ago, County Towne Players were two weeks away from their dress rehearsal for the comedy Four Weddings and an Elvis by Nancy Frick.

Enter COVID-19.

Exit live theatre performances at Victoria Jubilee Hall for two long, grim years.

With most COVID restrictions now lifted, the theatre group members have picked up where they left off and everyone’s heading back to the chapel – for the most memorable weddings ever.

Said director Janice Swanton, “We only had to replace two people.” One had two babies in the two years, while another had shift work issues.

Sunday’s dress rehearsal in front of a small but delighted audience shows the two-year wait was worth it. The play is witty, wacky and fun, with a certain sweetness to it that the talented actors make the most of.

As romantic comedies go, this one manages a madcap twist on just about every imaginable plot. The course of true love never runs smooth!

We first meet Sandy, owner of a Las Vegas wedding chapel as we always imagined one would be, festooned with hearts and flowers (bravo to the set crew!). Sandy has been both lucky and unlucky in love, repeatedly, with the same man – married four times and divorced three. Played by Adrianna Wilson, Sandy tries for cynical but settles for sentimental, with an appealing elegance.

And then there are the couples who come to the wedding chapel – Bev and Stan (Erin Holman and Bill Carroll) who are marrying as revenge on their ex-spouses. Except for Bev it’s the real deal. To help heal her broken heart, there’s John/Elvis, played by the incomparable Dennis Bushell.

Vanessa and Bryce (Jocie Pacey and Matt Stupar) are two arrogant movie stars with a tenuous grasp on reality, who hope to revive their flagging careers with a celebrity wedding – their own. Lou (Ken Coleman) is trying to revive his own career as the minister Sandy hired to replace her inebriated not-quite-ex.

The third couple, Fiona and Martin (Alyssa Wells and Jeromy Wilhelm) are hilariously mismatched – she’s a tough-as-nails ex-con, while he’s a meek Eagle Scout-turned-postal worker. And they’re oh-so-in-love. Even the appearance of her old boyfriend Fist (Jeremy Wright) can’t keep them from lawfully wedded bliss.

The fourth and final scene brings them all back together – for Sandy’s wedding. Will it be fifth-time-lucky with the still-inebriated Ken (Rick Schuller) or more madcap mayhem – or both? Put on your best wedding clothes and chill the champagne; this is one wedding no one will want to miss.

Dress rehearsals are meant to provide the chance to do a bit of fine-tuning and uncover and fix any problems. This particular dress rehearsal had none of that – the actors and crew were ready. The pace was quick, and the laughs came right on cue.

On the technical side, the set is deceptively simple but appropriately decorated, costumes are lovely and the lighting enhances every scene.

This show’s sure to be a hit.

Four Weddings and an Elvis opens April 29 and runs April 30, May 1, and May 4-7. In addition to the evening shows there’ll be three matinees – Sunday, April 30, Sunday, May 1 and Saturday, May 7, all at 2 p.m.

Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times

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