An all-female play featuring four generations of women, The Wedding Room is a dark comedy that hits all the right buttons. Written by Rob John and directed David Frias-Robles, The Wedding Room focuses on the nuptials of Julia (Emily Beach). Exhibiting agitation whenever her phone rings, it’s revealed that this is actually her ex Tony calling, who is back in town from Australia. Worse than that, Julia still has feelings for him.
The presence of Julia’s older sister Christine (Ciara Pouncett) makes some people feel awkward, since she went through the same wedding preparations and things ended ‘unsatisfactorily’ for her… As a further reminder of Christine’s ‘failed’ marriage, present are her twin daughters Imogen (Jasmine Horn) and Jessica (Amelia Bennett). They are very much ‘daddy’s girls’ and even though Christine tries her best to spend quality time with her daughters, they are very much enamoured with their father and his ‘partner’.
Julia and Christine’s mother Shirley (Christina Kembell) has set herself the task of preparing Julia’s itinerary and brought along her friend Gail (Sarah Langrish-Smith) to help with the hair and cosmetics side of things. Christine’s mother, a.k.a. Gran (Jo Ashe) is also present, but for much of the play she wants to do what makes her feel comfortable, rather than obey her daughter’s wishes. And then there is Tony…
Tonally, The Wedding Room is very much like the plays of Willy Russell and Mike Harding (at least in terms of pre-wedding antics and characters with unfinished ‘history’). In the case of Christine, her backstory proves to be more than just a source of gossip, as its importance is more akin to Briony Tallis’ thread in Ian McEwan’s Atonement.
Still, there are plenty of laughs to be found, especially the passive-aggressive comments between Christine and Gail, and the ‘battle of wills’ between Shirley and her mother.
Some plays are great for most of their duration, but they’re let down by their ending. The Wedding Room is solid entertainment throughout, with a twist at the end that satisfies.
© Michael Davis 2018
The Wedding Room runs at the Vault Festival until 4th March.