BY SANDY STAGGS
When the bridegroom wakes up with one heck of a hangover and a strange woman in the honeymoon suite on the morning before his nuptials, Greenville Little Theatre audiences know they are in for “Perfect Wedding,” a farce by playwright Robin Hawdon.
Set in the not too distant past at a country inn somewhere on the East Coast (though a radio on the nightstand and The Emotions’ “Best of My Love” suggest the late 1970s), this sidesplitting comedy moves at the speed of light with all the accoutrements of a brilliant farce: four slamming doors, misplaced identities, and a cast of actors with impeccable physicality and comedic timing. Carolina Curtain Call readers, this is a perfect “Perfect Wedding.”
Graham Shaffer (GLT’s Technical Director in his first role since “As You Like It” in 2016 with the Upstate Shakespeare Festival) plays Bill, who finds himself in his bridal boudoir in boxers and T-shirt with Judy (played by GLT’s most frequent leading lady Emily Grove). Yet, after a night of hitting the sauce, he has no recollection of how he got there or even who the beautiful woman is, including her name. The only thing he does remember is that his fiancée is expected to arrive any moment to begin prepping for her special day, so he rushes Judy to the bathroom to get ready and get out before Rachel (Jenell Kosmicki) arrives.
Enter the Best Man Tom (Todd Janssen), who never sees the woman in the powder room but is brought up to speed by Bill. Then enter the chamber maid Julie (the delightful Mary Evan Giles in her first non-musical role in Greenville), who is the voice of morality in this play. She and Tom are convinced to pretend to be the couple that ruffled the bridal bed and save Bill’s marriage to the oblivious Rachel, who arrives in short order.
Confused yet? Well, the mayhem only gets more complicated when the mother of the bride (Kelly Wallace) makes her entrance at the end of Act One. The tension and lies only get more tangled when (off-stage), the bride’s father is causing chaos in the dining room downstairs, hotel employees are walking off the job and guests are arriving at the church.
Shaffer’s set design of the honeymoon suite has two rooms, the bedroom and the sitting room which allows us to watch the simultaneous actions and conspiratorial lunacies unfold. And the play only gets more insanely hilarious as the lies get so intricately complex that even the characters can’t keep them straight.
Allen McCalla directs this comedy and leaves no moment unscathed by his punctilious hand. And every member of the cast is just as precise in their timing whether they are slamming doors, hiding in plain sight or fastidiously propelling the sidesplitting subterfuge.
But there is one performance that particularly stands out here: Janssen as the nerdy best friend, who has never had luck with the ladies. His agility and investment in this character and yo-yo temperament shines in his beet-red face as he waves a toilet bowl brush around as a weapon.
No spoilers here but everything and everyone ends as it should like a good Shakespeare sex comedy.
Also, I officially propose that a toilet brush should be the prop in next year’s 24 Hour Play Festival.
Costumes, including the lustrous lilac mother-of-the-bride dress and simple beaded wedding gown, were conceived by Thomas Brooks, Cory Granner is lighting and sound designer, Barbara Rupp is stage manager and Larry Hyder is production manager
“Perfect Wedding” continues Thursdays-Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. through April 29 at Greenville Little Theatre, 444 College Street in Greenville. For tickets, call (864) 233-6238 or visit www.greenvillelittletheatre.org.