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Theater Review (NYC): Perfect Wedding by Robin Hawdon

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No one does bedroom farce like the British, and a fine example just blustered onto the New York stage with the Vital Theatre Company's sharp new production of Robin Hawdon's Perfect Wedding.

A man wakes up on his wedding morning in the hotel's bridal suite with a naked woman he doesn't know. Hilarity ensues, and a touching love story too. Teresa K. Pond's sure-handed direction shapes Hawdon's snappy dialogue, slapstick humor, and blurry maze of plot twists into a cheery evening of laughs and good feeling.

The dialogue has been slightly Americanized, but the British pedigree shows, not only in the door-slamming, under-skirt-hiding story, but in the occasional unnatural phrase (e.g. "very well"). However, 99 percent of the time, the actors (and the adaptation) hit just the right notes of absurdity, desperation, and overdoing it.

Elastic-faced Matt Johnson plays Bill, the panicked groom, with a sweetly expressive mixture of bug-eyed fear and little-boy-lostness. The beautiful Amber Bela Muse does a nice job with the straight role of the clueless bride, although there's a late scene or two where she seems a little too calm for a bride on her wedding day.

The effervescent Dayna Graber threatens to steal the show as the wisecracking, mint-popping hotel housekeeper who gets caught up in the proceedings. But Tom (Fabio Pires in a very promising Off-Broadway debut) distracts us with his finely tuned fury upon discovering that Bill's best man is by no means the only role he's destined to play in this careening plot. And Kristi McCarson, in the initially thankless "other woman" role of Judy, captivates with her stark revelations in Act II.

Ms. McCarson also looks stunning in the wedding dress, which gets its own credit, being on loan from English couturier Jane Wilson-Marquis. It's quite a gorgeous garment. I won't give away how Judy ends up wearing it. Suffice it to say the bride's mother (Ghana Leigh) is involved.

Enough. Whatever troubles you may bring with you into the theater, this crackerjack production will make you forget them, at least for a rollicking hour and forty-five minutes. Perfect Wedding plays at the Theatres at 45 Bleecker Street, New York, through Aug. 2. Get tickets online or call (212) 579-0528.

Photos: Sun Productions, Inc.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.